In a weekend visit to Kyiv conducted in extreme secrecy, a top-level US congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed the “ferocity” and commitment of Ukrainians face to face with their leader.
Pelosi, who is second in line to the President behind the vice president, was the highest-ranking American legislator to visit Ukraine since Russia’s conflict began over two months ago. Only a few days prior, Russia struck Kiev when the United Nations Secretary-General was in the city.
Pelosi and a group of US lawmakers met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his top aides for three hours late Saturday to express American solidarity with the besieged country and get a firsthand assessment of the effort as she works to get a massive new Ukraine aid package passed through Congress.
In a video of the conversation posted by Pelosi’s office, he tells Zelenskyy, “Our pledge is to be there for you until the struggle is done.” “We are on the precipice of freedom, and your struggle is a struggle for all of us.” Thank you for your dedication to the cause of liberty.”
“You are all welcome,” Zelenskyy said to the group.
On Sunday in Poland, Pelosi told reporters that the group was happy to deliver to Zelenskyy “the message of unity from the United States Congress, a message of thanks from the American people for his leadership, and respect for the people of Ukraine for their courage.” On Monday in Warsaw, she will meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda, a NATO ally.
The delegation’s visit to Kyiv was kept a secret until it had successfully exited Ukraine. There were also no specifics about how they traveled to and from the capital. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Zelenskyy had flown overland from Poland to Kyiv for consultations with Zelenskyy a week before.
The members of the congressional delegation were unified in applauding Ukraine’s defenses, portraying the conflict as one of good vs evil, and pledging long-term US military, humanitarian, and economic help.
Rep. Adam Schiff, head of the House Intelligence Committee, stated, “This is a war of freedom against tyranny.”
The visit comes two days after US President Joe Biden requested Congress for $33 billion to help Ukraine combat Russia, more than doubling the initial $13.6 billion aid package that is nearly depleted. The move is intended to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States will continue to provide arms and other sorts of aid.
Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, a veteran and member of the House intelligence and armed services committees, said he traveled to Ukraine to focus on three things: “weapons, weapons, and weapons.”
He remarked, “We have to make sure the Ukrainians have everything they need to win.” “We’ve seen their fury, their strong pride, their capacity to battle, and their potential to win if they had the support to do so in the previous two months.”
Hundreds of US politicians are traveling to the region to see the war’s toll firsthand and to support US soldiers in the region. The delegation led by Pelosi was distinguished by the seniority of its members.
Pelosi’s status as a worldwide ambassador was also enhanced by the trip. The speaker is well-known in Europe and other parts of the world, and he or she frequently leads travel delegations and maintains good ties with allies abroad.
Despite the fact that the delegation was all Democrats, the US Congress has shown a rare and, so far, enduring bipartisan commitment to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia. Pelosi has described the crisis as a battle between democracy and tyranny, vowing that the US will stand behind Ukraine until the invaders are defeated.
Pelosi was joined by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Gregory Meeks, House Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Reps. Barbara Lee of California and Bill Keating of Massachusetts, Crow, and Schiff.
“Either we fight for democracy or we allow tyranny to dominate the day,” Meeks remarked. “We are in this to win,” Crow stated, adding that the US “will stand with Ukraine until victory is gained.”
As leader of the intelligence panel, Schiff stated that he was particularly concerned about ensuring that Ukraine has the intelligence support it requires to “fight Russian soldiers.”
The delegation’s visit followed that of other EU officials and European heads of state who went to demonstrate sympathy with Zelenskyy, beginning with the NATO members Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovenia’s surprise visit on March 15.
On Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv. Almost an hour after their joint news conference, a missile strike hit the capital, which Kyiv’s mayor described as Putin’s “middle finger” to Guterres.
The delegation was in Poland’s southeast region before heading to the capital. Since Russia’s invasion began on February 24, Poland has taken in more than 3 million Ukrainian refugees.
Pelosi stated, “We look forward to honoring our Polish allies for their devotion and humanitarian efforts.”
McGovern said that Russia’s conflict had far-reaching consequences beyond Ukraine, and that it was creating a food crisis that would be terrible for the world’s poor.
“Putin’s ruthless campaign is no longer just a battle against the Ukrainian people,” McGovern added. “It’s also a battle on the most vulnerable people on the planet.”
“I don’t think Putin cares if he starves the globe,” he continued.