May 26, 2022

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Pelosi takes an unannounced trip to meet Zelensky in Kyiv

Pelosi takes an unannounced trip to meet Zelensky in Kyiv

Pelosi’s office confirmed the visit in a statement Sunday, saying the House speaker led an official Congressional delegation to Ukraine — the first of its kind amid the Russian invasion.

Zelensky shared a video on Sunday of their meeting in Kyiv and thanked the United States for its strong support for Ukraine against Russian aggression.

In the clip, Pelosi is seen telling Zelensky, “We are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom, that we are on the freedom front and that your fight is a fight for everyone. And so our obligation is to be there for you until the fight is over.”

Pelosi was joined by several senior members of the House of Representatives on the trip, including Representative Gregory Mix of New York, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Adam Schiff of California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, who leads the House Rules Committee . According to Pelosi’s office, Representatives Bill Keating of Massachusetts, Barbara Lee of California, and Jason Crowe of Colorado were part of the delegation.

war speed

The spokesman’s visit comes as the United States and its allies step up efforts to provide long-term support to Ukraine as the fighting intensifies.

Last week, in response to pleas from Zelensky, group of 40 countries Collected by the United States in Germany agreed to simplify and speed up the delivery of weapons to Ukraine. “We must move with the speed of war,” the defense minister said. Lloyd Austinwho met Zelensky in Kyiv last week with the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation that would allow Biden to use a World War II-era law, known as the Lend-Lease Act of 1941, to quickly supply weapons to Ukraine on loan. This law was originally designed to aid forces fighting Nazi Germany and reflects Congressional urgency to support Ukraine’s armed forces.

President Joe Biden also asked Congress a $33 billion supplemental financing bill To help Ukraine over the next several months as Russia’s brutal and relentless war enters a new phase. Biden also outlined a proposal that would increase pressure on the Russian oligarchy over the war in Ukraine, including using money from their confiscated assets to fund Ukraine’s defense.

The package is much larger than others that have been introduced and is more than double the $13.6 billion injection of military and humanitarian aid approved by Congress last month.

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Zelensky stressed the importance of financial assistance in his meeting with Pelosi. “The signals that the United States and President Biden are giving today are very important. These are strong recent steps in the field of defense and financial support to Ukraine, as well as decisions on lending and leasing – we are grateful for that,” he said.

On Sunday, reporters asked Biden on the South Lawn of the White House if he had spoken to Pelosi.

“Not since I’ve landed,” Biden said before boarding Marine One on a flight to Minneapolis for a memorial service for late Vice President Walter Mondale.

Strong signal of support

Pelosi’s trip to Kyiv, which is second in line to succeed the president as speaker of the US House of Representatives, represents an important measure of the commitment to support Ukraine from the highest levels of US leadership.

“Our delegation in Congress had the solemn opportunity and extraordinary honor to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other senior Ukrainian officials in Kyiv,” it said. new version From Pelosi’s office. “Our delegation expressed our respect and gratitude to President Zelensky for his leadership and our admiration for the Ukrainian people for their courage in the fight against Russian oppression.”

Zelensky awarded Pelosi the Order of Princess Olga for her “important personal contribution” to strengthening Ukrainian and US relations. Olga was the first woman to rule Kievan Rus’, a medieval East Slavic state. The order that bears her name is awarded to women who have achieved great success in politics and society – the embodiment of female power in Ukraine.

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Zelensky also gave Pelosi the Ukrainian flag that he and members of the Verkhovna Rada signed, including those she met at the US Capitol recently, according to Pelosi spokesman Drew Hamill.

Hamill said the congressional delegation spent just over three hours on the ground in Kyiv. The lawmakers later arrived in Poland, where they will meet President Andrzej Duda and other senior officials.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Rzeszow, Poland, on Sunday, Pelosi said her discussions with Zelensky centered around security, humanitarian and economic assistance, and ultimately rebuilding Ukraine.

“We were proud to pass on to him a message of unity from the US Congress. A message of appreciation from the American people for his leadership and admiration for the people of Ukraine for their courage,” she said.

“America stands by Ukraine, we stand by Ukraine until victory is achieved, and we stand by NATO.”

Sarita Harlela and Sophie Jeong of CNN in Hong Kong and Daniela Diaz, Michaela Bouchard and Donald Judd in Washington, DC contributed to this report.