McConnell, GOP senators stop meeting with Zelensky in Kyiv

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell met with a delegation of Republican senators Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky An unannounced visit to Kyiv on Saturday showcased the latest U.S. solidarity with countries at war with Russia.

A video posted to Zelenskyy’s Telegram account showed McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, and Senators Susan Collins of Maine, John Barrasso of Wyoming and John Cornyn of Texas greet him in the capital. In an Instagram post, Zelensky called the visit a “strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine in the U.S. Congress and the American people.”

Later, in his nightly video speeches. Zelensky said he believed the senator’s visit showed “the strong bond 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.”

The visit comes as the Senate is struggling to approve a nearly $40 billion Ukraine package, a sizable boost that would push U.S. aid to the region well over $50 billion. The measure includes $6 billion in intelligence, equipment and troop training for Ukraine, as well as $4 billion in funding to help Ukraine and NATO allies build their military.

On Thursday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul delayed the passage of time, he asked to include a proposal for the inspector general to review the new spending. But final approval is in no doubt and could come in the coming week, reflecting overwhelming support in Congress to complement Ukraine’s war effort.

“They’re just asking for the resources they need to defend against this crazy incursion,” McConnell said of the Ukrainians last week. “They need this kind of help right now.”

It was the second high-profile visit to Ukraine by a congressional delegation in as many weeks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) visits a group of House Democrats on May 1 And promised Zelensky that the United States would “be by your side until the battle is over.”

First Lady Jill Biden visited western Ukraine over the weekend Mother’s Day meeting with Zelensky’s wife, Olena Zelenska.

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