President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s highly choreographed visit to Washington was a significant international moment. Not long ago, Mr. Zelenskyy had been adamant that his place was always on the frontline with his people. This week, however, he made a lightning trip in person, via Poland, to Washington itself, meeting President Joe Biden at the White House and delivering a primetime address to the U.S. Congress before heading back into his suffering country less than 24 hours later.

The visit was much more than a Christmas celebration of Ukraine’s defiance and of Mr. Zelenskyy’s immense role in it. Instead, it was a political event with important future implications for Ukraine, the United States and Russia, and for the conflict more generally. It was clearly focused on what should happen in 2023 rather than what has happened already.

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