Pelosi makes an unannounced trip to meet Zelensky in Kyiv
Zelensky shared a video of his meeting with the congressional delegation on Sunday and thanked the United States for its support for Ukraine against Russian aggression.
In the clip, Pelosi is seen telling Zelensky, “We are visiting you to thank you for your fight for freedom, that we are on the frontier of freedom and your fight is a fight for everyone. And so our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is over.”
Pelosi was joined by several senior House Democrats on the trip, including Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Adam Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Panel , and Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, who leads the bylaws committee. Democratic Representatives Bill Keating of Massachusetts, Barbara Lee of California and Jason Crow of Colorado were also part of the delegation, according to Pelosi’s office.
Lawmakers spent just over three hours on the ground in Kyiv, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said. Lawmakers then traveled to Poland, where they met with troops from the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division stationed in the country and were scheduled to meet Polish President Andrzej Duda on Monday, according to a statement from Pelosi.
Speaking to reporters Sunday at a press conference in Rzeszow, Poland, Pelosi said his talks with Zelensky centered on security, humanitarian and economic aid, and possibly rebuilding Ukraine.
“We were proud to deliver to him a message of unity from the United States Congress. A message of appreciation from the American people for his leadership and admiration for the Ukrainian people for their courage,” she said. “America stands with Ukraine, we stand with Ukraine until victory is won, and we stand with NATO.”
The California Democrat said in a statement on Sunday that the visit to Poland sent “an unequivocal message to the world: that America stands firmly with our NATO allies in our support for Ukraine.”
“The Speed of War”
The delegation’s visit comes as the United States and its allies step up efforts to provide long-term support to Ukraine as the fighting rages.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation that would allow Biden to use a World War II-era law, known as the Lend-Lease Act of 1941, to quickly provide weapons to Ukraine on loan. This law was originally created to aid forces fighting Nazi Germany and reflects Congress’s urgency to support Ukraine’s armed forces.
The package is significantly larger than other packages that have been proposed and represents more than double the $13.6 billion injection of military and humanitarian aid that Congress approved last month.
Zelensky stressed the importance of financial aid when meeting with Pelosi and the other lawmakers. “The signals that the United States and President Biden are giving today are very important. These include recent major advances in defense and financial support for Ukraine, as well as decisions on lend-lease. — we’re grateful for that,” he said.
In a statement, Schiff praised Ukraine’s military on Sunday, saying that “in the face of unimaginable odds” it had “thwarted (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s most egregious plans and repelled Russian forces for over two months. As Ukrainians defend their homes, the United States has supported their struggle for freedom by allocating significant funds for humanitarian, military, and economic assistance.
“It is imperative that Congress come together to quickly respond to President Biden’s request for an additional $33 billion for security and humanitarian assistance,” he added. “There’s no time to waste. And the stakes rise with each passing day.”
Support strong signal
Pelosi’s trip to kyiv, who is second in line to succeed the President as Speaker of the United States House, marks an important measure of commitment to support Ukraine from the highest level of American leadership.
Zelensky awarded Pelosi the Order of Princess Olga for her “significant personal contribution” to strengthening Ukrainian-American ties. Olga was the first woman to rule Kievan Rus, a medieval East Slavic state. The order bearing her name is awarded to women who have achieved significant success in politics and society – the personification in Ukraine of female strength.
Zelensky also gave Pelosi a Ukrainian flag signed by him and female members of Ukraine’s parliament, including those she had recently met at the U.S. Capitol, according to Pelosi’s spokesperson Hammill.
This story has been updated with additional developments.
CNN’s Sarita Harilela, Sophie Jeong, Daniella Diaz, Mikayla Bouchard, Donald Judd, Liz Turrell, Sam Fossum, Sonnet Swire and Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this report.