Pelosi on Surprise Trip to Kyiv Pledges Unwavering US Support | National Policy

By VANESSA GERA, NICOLE WINFIELD and LISA MASCARO – Associated Press

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A high-level U.S. Congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed the “ferocity” and determination of Ukrainians to come face-to-face with their leader during a week-long visit -end in kyiv carried out in extraordinary secrecy.

Pelosi, second in the presidency to vice president, was the longest-serving US lawmaker to visit Ukraine since the war in Russia began more than two months ago. A few days earlier, Russia had bombed the Ukrainian capital while the UN secretary general was there.

Pelosi and the half-dozen U.S. lawmakers with her met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his top aides for three hours late Saturday to express American solidarity with the beleaguered nation and get a first-hand assessment of the effort as it works to lead a massive new Ukraine. aid package through Congress.

“Our commitment is to be here for you until the fight is over,” Pelosi tells Zelenskyy in a video of the meeting released by his office. “We are on the frontier of freedom and your fight is everyone’s fight. Thank you for your fight for freedom.”

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“You are all welcome,” Zelenskyy told the delegation.

Pelosi told reporters in Poland on Sunday that the delegation was proud to convey to Zelenskyy “the message of unity from the United States Congress, a message of appreciation from the American people for their leadership and admiration for the Ukrainian people for his courage”. “She is due to meet Polish President Andrzej Duda, a NATO ally, on Monday in Warsaw.

The delegation’s trip to Kyiv was not disclosed until the group left Ukraine safely. Also, no details were given on how they got to and from the capital. A week earlier, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Zelenskyy traveled to Kyiv by land from Poland for talks with Zelenskyy.

Members of the congressional delegation were unanimous in praising Ukraine’s defenses, portraying the battle of one as good versus evil, and securing long-term U.S. military, humanitarian and economic support.

“This is a fight of freedom against tyranny,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

The trip comes two days after US President Joe Biden asked Congress for $33 billion to bolster Ukraine’s fight against Russia, more than double the initial aid measure of $13.6 billion. dollars which is now almost exhausted. The measure is designed to signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that US weaponry and other forms of assistance are not going away.

Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, a veteran and member of the House Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, said he traveled to Ukraine with three areas of interest: “Guns, guns and guns.”

“We have to make sure the Ukrainians have what they need to win,” he said. “What we’ve seen over the last two months is their ferocity, their intense pride, their ability to fight and their ability to win if they have the backing to do so.

Dozens of U.S. lawmakers travel to the region to see first-hand the toll of the war and bolster U.S. troops in the wider region. Pelosi’s delegation was distinguished by the seniority of its members.

The trip also underscored Pelosi’s stature as an ambassador on the world stage. The speaker is well known in Europe and elsewhere abroad, usually leads traveling delegations and maintains close relations with allies abroad.

Although all members of the delegation are Democrats, the US Congress has shown a rare and, so far, enduring bipartisan resolve to support Ukraine as it battles Russia. Pelosi called the war a clash between democracy and autocracy and vowed that Washington will stand with Ukraine until it defeats the invaders.

Pelosi came with Rep. Gregory Meeks, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, chair of the bylaws committee; Representatives Barbara Lee of California and Bill Keating of Massachusetts, Crow and Schiff.

“It’s a time when we stand up for democracy or allow autocracy to rule the day,” Meeks said. Crow said the United States “is here to win, and we will stand with Ukraine until victory is won.”

Schiff, as chairman of the intelligence panel, said he was particularly focused on ensuring Ukraine gets the US intelligence support it needs to “defeat Russian forces.”

The delegation’s visit follows those of several EU officials and European heads of state who came to show their solidarity with Zelenskyy, starting with the surprise visit on March 15 of the leaders of NATO members, the Czech Republic , Poland and Slovenia.

More recently, UN Secretary General António Guterres met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Thursday. A missile strike descended on the capital barely an hour after their joint press conference, an attack according to the mayor of kyiv, Putin gave his “middle finger” to Guterres.

The delegation was visiting southeastern Poland and later heading to the capital. Poland has taken in more than 3 million Ukrainian refugees since Russia launched its war on February 24.

“We look forward to thanking our Polish allies for their dedication and humanitarian efforts,” Pelosi said.

McGovern said Russia’s war had repercussions far beyond Ukraine and was exacerbating a food crisis that would be disastrous for the world’s poor.

“Putin’s brutal war is no longer just a war against the Ukrainian people,” McGovern said. “It is also a war against the world’s most vulnerable.”

He added: “I don’t think Putin cares about starving the world.”

Winfield brought back from Rome, Mascaro from Washington.

An earlier version of this story has been corrected to show Pelosi is second in line after the presidency, not third.

More AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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