Pelosi, Congressional Leaders Make Unannounced Visit To Kyiv – The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and other Congressional leaders made an unannounced trip to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Saturday, becoming one of the most senior US officials to meet face-to-face with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky since the Russian invasion began in late February. It was the second high-level visit by US officials in the past week. Last week, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv and met with President Zelensky.
In a statement released by her office on Sunday, Pelosi said, “Our delegation traveled to Kyiv to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine.”
She characterized the ongoing war as “Putin’s diabolical invasion.”
President Zelensky and Speaker Pelosi thanked and praised each other in a sign of solidarity against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “We’ll win and we’ll win together,” Zelensky said, while Pelosi added: “We are here until victory is won.”
Zelensky’s office released a video clip of the meeting where Pelosi said, “We are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom, that we’re on a frontier of freedom and that your fight is a fight for everyone,” Pelosi said to Zelensky, adding “and so our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done.”
Before her visit to Ukraine, on Friday Pelosi said that she hoped that Congress would pass the large $33 billion dollar aid package which consists of military, economic, and humanitarian assistance as soon as possible.
The aid package proposed by US President Joe Biden includes over $20 billion for weapons, ammunition, and other military and security assistance, $8.5 billion in direct economic assistance to the Ukrainian government, and an additional $3 billion in humanitarian aid.
Pelosi was also awarded “the Order of Princess Olga” for her “significant personal contribution” to leading the US’ support for the Ukrainians. Princess Olga was the first woman to rule Kievan Rus, back in medieval times. The Ukrainians created this award in her name that is awarded to women who are leaders in politics, and industry.
The American delegation accompanying the Speaker included Democratic Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Adam Schiff, of California who chairs the House Intelligence Committee; Jim McGovern of Massachusetts who chairs the House Rules Committee; former Army Ranger Jason Crow of Colorado; Barbara Lee of California; and Bill Keating of Massachusetts.
Rep. Crow who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq with the Ranger Regiment, and was awarded the Bronze Star, said that his focus on the visit was simple and consisted of three areas that require US assistance. . “Weapons, weapons, and weapons,” he said. “We have to make sure the Ukrainians have what is necessary to win.” He added that this signals the United States will not support a stalemate nor the status quo.
Rep. Schiff said, “We are in awe of what the Ukrainians have been able to achieve.” “We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine, and we will until victory is won.” Rep. McGovern stated that the war against Ukraine was a war against the world’s most vulnerable people. Ukraine produces much of the world’s grain, and its exports feed people around the world.
McGovern characterized Putin’s invasion as “evil” stating that the war was “exacerbating hunger all around the world.” Mr. McGovern added that he didn’t “think Putin cares if he starves Ukraine or the world,”
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for more than 10 years and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.