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President Biden is set to host House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the congressional delegation who traveled to Ukraine last week in the White House Situation Room on Tuesday afternoon.
Pelosi, D-Calif., led a delegation of Democratic lawmakers in a trip to Ukraine last month. The delegation included Democratic Reps. Jim McGovern, Gregory Meeks, Adam Schiff, Barbara Lee, Bill Keating and Jason Crow.
“The president previously spoke to Speaker Pelosi about the delegation’s trip by phone,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. “As we said earlier this month, he wanted to hear a more thorough account of their time in Ukraine in person after they retired to the United States.”
Psaki said Tuesday’s Situation Room meeting is “an opportunity to do exactly that.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Ukraine President Zelenskyy on May 1, 2022. (Zelenskyy)
Pelosi and the delegation met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier this month in Kyiv. The speaker said the trip was meant “to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine.”
“Our meeting with President Zelenskyy began with him thanking the United States for the substantial assistance that we have provided,” Pelosi said in a statement after the meeting, adding that Zelenskyy “conveyed the clear need for continued security, economic and humanitarian assistance from the United States to address the devastating human toll taken on the Ukrainian people by Putin’s diabolic invasion – and our delegation proudly delivered the message that additional American support is on the way, as we work to transform President Biden’s strong funding request into a legislative package.”
“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 said after the meeting.
The president has not yet visited Ukraine. The White House said last week that he “would love to visit,” but that there are “no plans in the works” for him to travel to the country.
Over the weekend, First Lady Jill Biden traveled to Ukraine and last month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken made similar trips.
Other leaders have traveled to Ukraine. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kyiv in April, and was seen in videos shared by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense walking down the streets of the capital alongside Zelenskyy.
In this image released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office on Sunday, May 1, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives for his meeting with U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 30, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
In March, prime ministers Mateusz Moravetsky of Poland, Petr Fiala of the Czech Republic and Janez Jansa of Slovenia traveled to Kyiv.
Congress is weighing a $33 billion legislative package for Ukraine that the president requested last month, and Biden urged lawmakers to pass it “immediately” on Monday.
The emergency supplemental funding bill for Ukraine includes $20.4 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine, with $5 billion in additional drawdown authority, $6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and $4 billion for the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing program.
The administration is also asking for funding to bolster the Justice Department’s “KleptoCapture Task Force” efforts to pursue high value asset seizures from sanctioned individuals related to Russian actions in Ukraine.
The Biden administration, in April announced another $800 million in military aid for Ukraine, including heavy artillery and ammunition, as the country continues to fight to defend itself against Russia’s multi-front war. That funding was in addition to an authorization of $800 million in weapons, ammunition and other security assistance earlier this month.
The $1.6 billion the president approved last month for Ukraine came in addition to the more than $1 billion the Biden administration already sent to Ukraine.
The House of Representatives is set to vote on the package Tuesday night.