U.S. President Joe Biden embraces Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office of the White House on September 21, 2023.
President Joe Biden will host Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House on Tuesday as debate over a Ukraine aid deal stalls in Congress.
The visit, announced by the White House on Sunday, is Zelensky’s third visit to Washington since the war in Ukraine began. He last visited in September.
Zelensky’s visit comes at a critical moment in congressional negotiations on emergency aid for Ukraine. Congress is nowhere near a deal Linking immigration and border policy changes for an emergency aid package that would fund Ukraine and Israel before lawmakers leave town for recess.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Party Chairman Mitch McConnell invited the Ukrainian president to address a meeting of all senators on Tuesday morning, a Senate chief aide said. House Speaker Mike Johnson will also meet with Zelensky, his office said in a statement.
The White House meeting “underlines America’s unwavering commitment to support the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s brutal invasion,” spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
“As Russia escalates missile and drone strikes against Ukraine, the leaders will discuss Ukraine’s urgent needs and the critical importance of continued U.S. support at this critical juncture,” he said.
The pair will discuss “further security cooperation” at a series of meetings on Tuesday, the Ukrainian president’s office said in a statement on Sunday.
Zelensky will focus on “securing solidarity between the United States, Europe and the rest of the world,” their support for Ukraine’s defense against Russia, and “strengthening the international order based on the rules and respect for the sovereignty of states,” the statement said.
Zelensky and Biden will discuss defense cooperation efforts for the coming year, including joint plans to produce weapons and air defense systems.
If Congress leaves town for the holidays without reaching a deal, the White House must Tough choices in delivering to allies like Ukraine At the potential cost of US military preparedness. Top Biden administration officials have been warning for weeks about the potential consequences of Ukraine’s drying up of funding.
The administration’s proposed $106 billion aid package includes about $60 billion in aid for Ukraine’s defense against Russia, with the rest funding Israel’s war with Hamas, security in Taiwan and operations along the U.S.-Mexico border.
But top Republicans are wary of adding to the $111 billion the U.S. has already sent to Ukraine, and have asked that any funding be tied to major immigration policy changes.
“History is going to judge those who turn their backs on the cause of freedom harshly,” Biden said earlier this month. “We cannot allow Putin to win.”
The president acknowledged that the country’s immigration system was “broken” and said he was willing to make “significant compromises on the border,” but said Ukraine’s needs were too important to wait. He called out “radical Republicans” as negotiators are at a critical impasse on the key issue of border security, saying those Republicans are “playing chicken with our national security.”
“Frankly, I think it’s shocking that we got to this point in the first place. … Russian forces are committing war crimes — it’s that simple,” Biden said.
News of Zelensky’s trip to Washington drew pushback from some Republicans in Congress, who tweeted: “Amid a historic border crisis, Zelensky will come to Washington and demand that Congress care more about his border than ours.”
Ukraine said on Saturday that Russia had carried out nearly 100 airstrikes across the country in 24 hours, as its first lady warned.Risk of death” without Western military assistance.
Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, recently told the BBC that she supports Ukraine. “Simply put, we can’t get tired of this situation because if we do, we’ll die.
“And when the world gets tired, they’ll let us die.”
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Tuesday’s trip was Zelensky’s third visit to Washington since the war began.