Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi led a group of seven Democrats in a secret congressional delegation to Ukraine on Saturday, the first such official visit.
Pelosi is the highest-ranking U.S. government official to visit the country. The delegation also included Massachusetts Reps. Jim McGovern and Bill Keating, California Reps. Barbara Lee and Adam Schiff, New York Rep. Gregory Meeks, and Colorado Rep. Jason Crow. Two Republicans, Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz and Montana Sen. Steve Daines, visited the besieged European nation in April, although their trip was not officially organized.
The lawmakers met with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy for several hours, and also walked the streets of Kyiv, according to a video posted to Zelenskyy’s official Twitter account. During the meeting, Pelosi pledged to “be there for you until the fight is done.” (RELATED: Nancy Pelosi Echoes Republicans’ Calls For Russian Oil Import Ban)
Зустріч зі спікером Палати представників Конгресу США @SpeakerPelosi в Києві. Сполучені Штати є лідером потужної підтримки України в боротьбі з агресією РФ. Дякуємо, що допомагаєте захищати суверенітет і територіальну цілісність нашої держави! pic.twitter.com/QXSBPFoGQh
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) May 1, 2022
“Our delegation traveled to Kyiv to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine. Our meeting with President Zelenskyy began with him thanking the United States for the substantial assistance that we have provided. He conveyed the clear need for continued security, economic and humanitarian assistance from the United States to address the devastating human toll taken on the Ukrainian people by Putin’s diabolic invasion – and our delegation proudly delivered the message that additional American support is on the way, as we work to transform President Biden’s strong funding request into a legislative package,” the Democrats said in a joint statement.
President Joe Biden requested a new aid package of $33 billion for Ukraine on Thursday. The package would provide more weapons, as well as food, medicine, and money for essential government services. Congress previously approved $13.6 billion in aid as part of the 2022 fiscal year appropriations package.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Ukraine and met with Zelenskyy on April 24. Several heads of state, most prominently British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have also visited the country since Russia invaded.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have not traveled to Ukraine, citing security risks. Russia continues to bomb civilian areas of the country, although it is refocusing its campaign on several eastern oblasts.