Biden invites Ukraine’s Zelenskyy to visit Washington Wednesday

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine is anticipated visit Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

The White House mentioned in an announcement early Wednesday that President Biden invited his Ukrainian counterpart “to underscore the United States’ enduring commitment to Ukraine.”

According to the assertion, the 2 president will meet on the White House, then Zelenskyy “will address a joint session of Congress, demonstrating the strong, bipartisan support for Ukraine.”

“Three hundred days ago,” the assertion continued, “Russia launched a brutal assault against Ukraine. In response, President Biden rallied the world to support the people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“During the visit, President Biden will announce a major new bundle of safety help to assist Ukraine defend itself towards Russian aggression. The visit will underscore the United States’ steadfast dedication to supporting Ukraine for so long as it takes, together with by the supply of financial, humanitarian, and navy help.”

The visit has been within the works since November. An earlier plan to visit the U.S. in September throughout the U.N. General Assembly was known as off due to the battle.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, co-chair of the House Ukraine caucus, confirmed to CBS News there had been on-going, severe, behind-the-scenes efforts to carry Zelenskyy to Washington. 

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his wife Olena attend a commemoration ceremony at a monument to the so-called
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his spouse Olena Zelenska attend a commemoration ceremony at a monument to the so-called “Heavenly Hundred” for the individuals killed throughout the Ukrainian pro-European Union (EU) mass demonstrations in 2014, to mark the ninth anniversary of the beginning of the rebellion, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 21, 2022. 

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout by way of REUTERS

“We’d be very honored to have him visit. I’m amazed he can make it in view of the situation,” Kaptur mentioned. “It’d be a great gift to have him at the Capitol. We’re working with the leadership to be helpful. We personally understand if he cannot make it at the last minute.”

In a letter to her Democratic colleagues Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged her members to return to Washington and be “physically present” on the House’s session Wednesday. Punchbowl information was the primary to report that Zelenskky’s visit was the rationale for the sudden gathering.

“We are ending a very special session of the 117th Congress with legislation that makes progress for the American people as well as support for our Democracy,” Pelosi wrote. “Please be present for a very special focus on Democracy Wednesday night.”

During an address to the Ukrainian individuals, Zelenskyy mentioned this week is “extremely important” for Ukraine and urged he’d been requested to cross alongside a token of gratitude to the nation’s allies.

“Our fighters gave me our flag today and asked to pass it on to those whose decisions are very important for Ukraine, for all our warriors,” he mentioned. “We will definitely do it. We will definitely endure. We will definitely get the necessary support for Ukraine.”

Zelenskyy’s speech comes as Congress is working to cross a sweeping $1.7 trillion authorities spending bundle that features practically $45 billion in navy, humanitarian and financial help for Ukraine. The measure can be one of many closing items of laws handed by the present Congress, and lawmakers have been shifting with urgency to clear the omnibus invoice earlier than a Friday deadline to avert a partial authorities shutdown.

The roughly $45 billion included for Ukraine is larger than the $37.7 billion requested by the White House in November and, if authorised by Congress, can be the newest tranche of emergency help supplied to Ukraine because it continues to battle Russia.

Lawmakers have allotted greater than $65 billion in help to Ukraine for the reason that invasion, although some House Republicans have expressed opposition to persevering with direct funding to the nation. This new bundle would carry U.S. help to over $100 billion. 

The Defense Department has additionally committed in depth navy gear, as of the top of November, together with 38 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and ammunition, eight National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, 45 T-72B tanks, greater than 1,600 Stinger anti-aircraft methods and greater than 8,500 Javelin anti-armor methods, in addition to helicopters, armored autos and mine-resistant autos.

Zelenskyy has repeatedly expressed his gratitude to Mr. Biden and lawmakers for funding and safety help, however in March made an emotional plea for added weapons, together with air-defense methods. The Ukrainian president appeared just about earlier than each chambers of Congress on the time and invoked key occasions in U.S. historical past — the 1941 assault on Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11, 2011, terror assaults — to additional underscore the necessity for extra assist.

Zelenskyy’s anticipated visit can be a part of his first journey exterior Ukraine since Russia invaded in late February, and would characterize a daring choice to go away the nation amid the continued battle and Russian makes an attempt on his life. He met with Mr. Biden on the White House in early September 2021, and the 2 have spoken repeatedly by telephone within the months since Russia’s invasion, throughout which the U.S. President has expressed continued help for Ukraine.

The White House has explored having Mr. Biden visit Ukraine a number of occasions however has tabled such plans amid safety issues. But different senior U.S. officers, together with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, have visited the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv over the course of this year. 

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware mentioned Tuesday that Zelenskyy addressing Congress can be “the perfect ending to two years where President Biden has had some landmark successes, and a year where his biggest success internationally has been rallying our NATO allies to support the Ukrainian close.”

Alan He, Melissa Quinn and Caroline Linton contributed to this report. 

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