US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell led a team of Republican senators on a surprise trip to Kyiv on Saturday, May 14 to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The trip which is the latest in a string of high-level US trips comes as a bipartisan bill to send $40 billion in additional aid to Ukraine to help with the war remained stalled in Congress.
McConnell, along with Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo), made the trip just two days after their fellow Republican, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, forced a temporary halt to the massive military and humanitarian aid bill.
The visit was “a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine from the United States Congress and the American people,” Zelensky wrote on his official Instagram account.
“Thank you for your leadership in helping us fight not only for our country, but also for democratic values and freedoms,” the president added. “We really appreciate it.”
A top Zelensky aide wrote that the visit signaled an imminent end to the impasse in Congress.
“A decision on $40 billion is expected next week,” Andrij Sybiha wrote on Facebook.
“Today, our state has the strong bipartisan and bicameral support of American friends. And the American people.”
Recall on May 1, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a similar surprise meeting with Zelensky while first lady Jill Biden greeted Zelensky’s wife Olena Zelenska in an unannounced Mother’s Day trip over the Ukrainian border last Sunday.
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President Zelensky welcomed US delegation to Kyiv led by Sen Mitch McConnell today. Zelensky said it’s “a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine.”— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) May 14, 2022
“Thank you for your leadership in helping us fight not only for our country, but also for democratic values and freedoms.” pic.twitter.com/amTIudErkb