Nancy Pelosi Visits Ukraine. Is Joe Biden Next? – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the highest-ranking United States official to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv after making an unannounced trip to the Ukrainian capital on Saturday.
In a statement on Sunday, the House Speaker’s office said that Pelosi was leading a congressional delegation to Ukraine. It is the first time members of Congress have visited the war-torn country since Russia announced its so-called “special military operation” on February 24.
A video of the House Speaker with the Russian president was shared on Sunday. Pelosi thanked the Ukrainian president for continuing the “fight for freedom” and said that Ukraine’s fight “is a fight for everyone.”
Pelosi also reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to Ukraine “until the fight is done.”
Joining Pelosi on the trip was Rep. Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat and chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as Rep. Adam Schiff of California who chairs the House Intelligence Panel.
Massachusetts Rep Jim McGovern, the head of the House Ruel’s Committee, also attended with Reps. Barbara Lee of California, Jason Crow of Colorado, and Bill Keating of Massachusetts.
The unannounced trip comes after President Joe Biden asked Congress to approve an additional $30 billion in funding for the Ukrainian war effort, and the House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday that would allow the president to use an eighty-year-old law to loan more weapons to Ukraine.
Will Biden Go?
On April 19, President Joe Biden said that he wasn’t sure he would pay a visit to Ukraine amid the conflict with Russia. When asked by journalists at an event in New Hampshire whether he would meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Ukrainian capital city, the president wouldn’t say.
“The answer is, I don’t know,” he said.
The White House was less optimistic than even the president was, suggesting that a trip was probably not on the cards and that a high-ranking U.S. official would be sent to meet with Zelenskyy instead. Sources familiar with the matter said at the time that it was more likely Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin or Secretary of State Antony Blinken would visit.
On April 25, the Department of State confirmed that Austin and Blinken visited Ukraine on April 24 to “demonstrate the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in their struggle against Russian aggression.”
If President Joe Biden was likely to visit Ukraine, it would presumably have taken place before Blinken and Austin were sent to the country, and also before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paid a visit, too.
Though, with some analysts suggesting that this war could potentially last for months or years more, there is still time for the White House to reconsider.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.