House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made an unannounced trip to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Saturday, becoming the most senior US official to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky since the war broke out more than two months ago.
Zelensky, flanked by an armed escort, greeted Pelosi outside his presidential office, dressed in the khaki military garb he has worn for public appearances since the start of Russia’s invasion on February 24.
“Our delegation travelled to Kyiv to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine,” Pelosi said in a statement.
She was accompanied by several lawmakers on a congressional trip that followed a visit last weekend to Ukraine by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Pelosi said Zelensky had made clear Ukraine needed more security, economic and humanitarian aid “to address the devastating human toll taken on the Ukrainian people by (President Vladimir) Putin’s diabolic invasion”.
“Our delegation proudly delivered the message that additional American support is on the way,” she said.
On Friday, Pelosi said she hoped to pass a $33 billion aid package for Ukraine requested by President Joe Biden as soon as possible – a dramatic escalation of US funding for Ukraine more than two months after Russia launched what it calls a “special military operation.”