Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy is headed to Washington for talks with President Joe Biden and U.S. congressional leaders, signaling a push to energize support among his country’s allies almost two years into Russia’s invasion.
With Biden’s request for further military assistance to Kyiv stalled in Congress, the Ukrainian president will make his case on Capitol Hill and at the White House on Tuesday at a key juncture in his fight to regain Russian-occupied territory.
“As Russia ramps up its missile and drone strikes against Ukraine, the leaders will discuss Ukraine’s urgent needs and the vital importance of the United States’ continued support at this critical moment,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement Sunday.
Zelenskyy is expected to make an in-person address to a meeting of all U.S. senators on Tuesday morning, a Senate leadership aide said. House Speaker Mike Johnson will also meet the Ukrainian president, spokesman Raj Shah said on social media.
As Zelenskyy traveled to Washington, Russia targeted southern Ukraine with 18 drones and launched eight ballistic missiles at the Kyiv region in an attack lasting into the early hours of Monday. All were deflected, according to Ukraine’s air force.
“We are using every day, every minute to give more to Ukraine, to our people — more opportunities, more protection, more strength,” Zelenskyy said in his daily video statement early Monday.
Continued U.S. military support has hit a snag as senators struggle to reach a compromise on U.S.-Mexico border policy changes that Republicans insist are needed for assistance to Ukraine to pass both houses of Congress.
With lawmakers scheduled to leave Washington at the end of the week for the holiday break, Senate negotiators said Sunday that differences persist.
“Right now, Republican demands are unreasonable,” lead Democratic negotiator Senator Chris Murphy said on NBC’s Meet the Press. He said he expects the White House to get more engaged in the negotiations this week as negotiators try to resolve “some pretty big differences that remain.”
Republican negotiator Senator James Lankford said the Biden administration isn’t focused enough on tightening asylum rules. “They seem to be focused on how many people can we just release into the country and tell them we’ll do a hearing sometime later,” he said on CBS’s Face the Nation.
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