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McConnell, Other GOP Senators Meet Zelenskyy During Surprise Visit to Ukraine

McConnell, Other GOP Senators Meet Zelenskyy During Surprise Visit to Ukraine

Following on the heels of First Lady Jill Biden’s surprise Mother’s Day visit to American troops in Romania and a meeting with her Ukrainian counterpart, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and a delegation of GOP senators met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv during an unannounced visit Saturday, delivering the latest show of American solidarity with the country at war with Russia.

A video posted on Zelenskyy’s Telegram account showed McConnell along with Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John Barrasso of Wyoming, and John Cornyn of Texas greeting him in the capital. Zelenskyy called the visit “a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine from the United States Congress and the American people” on his Instagram.

 

Later, in his nightly video address. Zelenskyy said he believed that the senators’ trip showed “the strong connection between the Ukrainian and American people. We discussed various areas of support for our country, including defense and finance, as well as strengthening sanctions against Russia.” But many Twitter users called out the GOP delegation for using the moment to distract from their troubles back home regarding the Supreme Court’s leaked Roe v Wade ruling.

The trip came at a time when the Senate is working to approve a nearly $40 billion package for Ukraine, a substantial infusion of support that will push American aid to the region well above $50 billion. The measure includes $6 billion for Ukraine for intelligence, equipment, and training for its forces, plus $4 billion in financing to help Ukraine and NATO allies build up their militaries. But GOP Senator Rand Paul, who’s been openly accused of being a “Russian asset” by Democratic members of Congress, is unilaterally holding up that aid.

But despite Sen. Paul’s obstruction, final approval for the aid package could come in the week ahead, reflecting overwhelming support in Congress for replenishing the Ukrainian war effort. “They’re only asking for the resources they need to defend themselves against this deranged invasion,” McConnell said this past week of the Ukrainians. “And they need this help right now.”

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