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Pelosi makes unannounced trip to meet with Zelensky in Kyiv

Pelosi’s office confirmed the trip in a statement on Sunday, saying that the Speaker had led an official congressional delegation to Ukraine — the first since Russia’s invasion.

Zelensky shared a video on Sunday of their meeting in Kyiv, and thanked the US for its powerful support of Ukraine against Russian aggression.

“We are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom, that we’re on a frontier of freedom and that your fight is a fight for everyone,” Pelosi said to Zelensky in the clip. “And so our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done.”

Her visit comes as the US and its allies are preparing to provide long-term support to Ukraine as Russia’s invasion of the nation drags on.

Last week, responding to pleas from Zelensky, more than 40 nations agreed to streamline and speed up the delivery of weapons to Ukraine. “We’ve got to move at the speed of war,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who met with Zelensky in Kyiv with Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week, said.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden asked Congress for a $33 billion supplemental funding bill aimed at supporting Ukraine over the next several months as Russia’s brutal and unrelenting war enters a new phase. Biden also outlined a proposal that would further pressure Russian oligarchs over the war in Ukraine, including using money from their seized assets to fund Ukraine’s defense.

The package is significantly larger than the other packages that have been put forward, and is more than twice as much as the $13.6 billion infusion of military and humanitarian aid that Congress approved last month.

Zelensky stressed the importance of the financial assistance in his meeting with Pelosi. “The signals that the United States and President Biden are giving today are very important. These are recent strong steps in defense and financial support for Ukraine,” Zelensky said.

The trip to Kyiv by Pelosi, who is second in line to succeed the president, signals a significant measure of commitment to supporting Ukraine from the most senior level of US leadership.

“Our Congressional Delegation had the solemn opportunity and extraordinary honor of meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other top Ukrainian officials in Kyiv,” according to the news release from Pelosi’s office.

“Our delegation conveyed our respect and gratitude to President Zelenskyy for his leadership and our admiration of the Ukrainian people for their courage in the fight against Russia’s oppression.”

Pelosi was joined by several other senior members of Congress, including Gregory Meeks of New York, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Adam Schiff of California, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

The congressional delegation spent just over three hours on the ground in Kyiv, Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, said. Zelensky gave Pelosi a Ukrainian flag that he and female members of parliament, including those she met with at the US Capitol recently, had signed.

Zelensky awarded Pelosi with “the Order of Princess Olga” for her significant personal contribution to strengthening Ukrainian and American ties.

The delegation was heading to Poland next, Pelosi’s office said, where the US politicians were due to meet with President Andrzej Duda and other senior officials.

“When we return to the United States, we will do so further informed, deeply inspired and ready to do what is needed to help the Ukrainian people as they defend democracy for their nation and for the world,” the release ends.

CNN’s Sarita Harilela and Sophie Jeong in Hong Kong and Daniella Diaz and Mikayla Bouchard in DC contributed to this report.

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