A bipartisan group of seven US senators met on Monday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the capital of Kyiv amid the looming threat of a potential Russian invasion of the country.
The delegation was comprised of Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, along with Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi. The Senators made the trip to reaffirm the Biden Administration’s commitment to the country as Russia amasses tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine’s border.
President Joe Biden has now virtually spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin twice regarding the intensifying situation amid the increased military presence. President Biden made it clear to Putin back in December that war with Ukraine would not be tolerated, although the President stopped short of threatening sanctions should Putin invade the US ally.
— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) December 7, 2021
Zelensky told the US delegation, “It is very important for Ukraine, for our people, that you are with us today,” according to the Ukrainian government. “This testifies to the constant bicameral, bipartisan support of our state, as well as its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
Amy Klobuchar speaking on the Senate Floor for Voting Rights an hour after returning from Ukraine. Don't tell me no Democrats are fighting for our democracy. pic.twitter.com/knUNSkce6g
— Janice Hough (@leftcoastbabe) January 18, 2022
Sen. Murphy told reporters by phone from Kyiv that Ukraine is focused on increased support from the US, but that the country is “battle-tested” and “ready.” The Connecticut Democrat echoed President Biden’s strong stance, adding, “If Putin thinks that he’s going to walk into Central or Western Ukraine without a significant fight then he has fundamentally misread the Ukrainian people and their readiness.”
A Russian invasion of Ukraine may be unavoidable at this point. To the degree that we may still be able to stop it, Congress must pass @SenatorMenendez and @SenatorShaheen's Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act.
— VoteVets (@votevets) January 18, 2022
In an additional US attempt to keep the peace between the two countries, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with his Russian counterpart in Switzerland this week, the State Department said Tuesday. In a hastily arranged trip meant to show U.S. support for Ukraine and impress on Russia the need for de-escalation, Blinken will travel to Kyiv on Wednesday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, move on to Berlin and then meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday.
Russia has cleared out its embassy in Ukraine.
Jen Psaki now saying Russia could launch attack on Ukraine at any point.
— Outspoken (@Out5p0ken) January 18, 2022
White House press secretary Jen Psaki underscored the urgency. “We’re now at a stage where Russia could at any point launch an attack in Ukraine. And what Secretary Blinken is going to go do is highlight very clearly there is a diplomatic path forward,” she said.
I’m traveling to Kyiv and Berlin, where I will meet with our partners and allies, before meeting with my Russian counterpart in Geneva. This is a diplomatic effort to de-escalate tensions surrounding the unprovoked Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders. pic.twitter.com/dAP2nkrXfK
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) January 18, 2022
[This is a developing story, please check back for updates]