Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) led a delegation of Congressional Republicans to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this weekend in Kyiv.
McConnell was joined by Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, and John Barrasso of Wyoming among others, NBC News reported.
After leaving Ukraine, the Kentucky senator issued a statement that the Republican delegation witnessed firsthand the “courage, unity, and resolve of the Ukrainian people” and that they, the Ukrainian government, “only ask for the tools they need for self-defense.”
McConnell said that the Republican delegation “reaffirmed to President Zelenskyy that the United States stands squarely behind Ukraine and will sustain our support until Ukraine wins this war.”
Adding that the defense of Ukraine and defending principles of sovereignty directly impact U.S. national security, McConnell said, “It is also essential that America not stand alone. Our allies and partners must continue to step up and do their part.”
After meeting with the Republican delegation, Zelenskyy said that the group's visit shows the strength of the U.S.-Ukraine relationship.
Zelenskyy said, “We discussed various areas of support for our state, including defensive and financial. As well as tightening sanctions on Russia. I expressed gratitude for the historic decision to renew the Lend Lease program. I called for the official recognition of Russia as a terrorist state.”
The Republican delegation’s visit comes just days after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $40 billion spending package that included military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Rand Paul, the junior Republican senator from Kentucky, recently held up the package’s passage in the Senate.
The Republican delegation is only the latest group of American political figures to visit Ukraine amidst Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion.
In late April, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with Zelenskyy to assure him that the federal government would soon be providing him with more than $300 million in military financing.
In early May, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation of Congressional Democrats consisting of Reps. Jason Crow of Colorado, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Gregory Meeks from New York, and Adam Schiff from California to express political support for Ukraine amidst the Russian military’s renewed attacks in Ukraine’s eastern regions.
First Lady Jill Biden also paid a visit to Ukraine, about a week after Pelosi’s delegation met with Zelenskyy.
There continues to be no plan for President Joe Biden to visit Ukraine or meet with Zelenskyy.