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Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady, set to address US Congress after meeting with Blinken

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the United States on Monday, ahead of her address to Congress at the U.S. Capitol later this week.

Zelenska’s visit to the U.S. comes as Ukraine continues to defend itself against a Russian invasion that started on Feb. 24.

The two leaders discussed Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia and humanitarian efforts to help Ukrainian refugees displaced by the struggle.

Blinken also underscored the U.S. “commitment to support Ukraine’s victory,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

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“He reiterated that the United States will continue to provide assistance to help Ukraine respond to the significant economic and humanitarian challenges it faces, including supporting the first lady’s mental health initiative for citizens affected by the war,” Price added.

The U.S. has already sent billions of dollars worth of supplies and military equipment to Ukraine to assist in the struggle, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his country needs additional armaments if his country holds any hope of defeating Russia.  

“The secretary reiterated that the United States remains dedicated to helping the people of Ukraine recover and rebuild from the devastation inflicted on them by [Russian] President Putin’s unjust war,” he added.

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Zelenska will meet with lawmakers on Wednesday, where she will deliver an address before the chamber. The Ukrainian first lady is also expected to hold her second in-person meeting with First Lady Jill Biden.

The two first met in Ukraine in May. 

TOPSHOT - US First lady Jill Biden (L) offers flowers to Ukraine President wife Olena Zelenska, outside of School 6, a public school that has taken in displaced students in Uzhhorod on May 8, 2022, during an unannounced visit of Jill Biden to Ukraine on the sidelines of an official trip in nearby Slovakia. (Photo by Susan Walsh / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SUSAN WALSH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

President Zelenskyy virtually addressed Congress in March, when he told members his country was experiencing a mass civilian tragedy “every day” because of Russian attacks on Ukraine.

“Remember Sept. 11, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn your cities, independent territories, into battlefields. When innocent people were attacked from the air,” Zelenskyy said on March 16. “Our country is experiencing the same every day, right now, at this moment.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen on the screen delivering a speech via videoconference to the U.S. Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., the United States, March 16, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite/Pool via Xinhua)

The Ukrainian president also thanked President Joe Biden and the U.S. Congress for their aid.

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