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 Zelenskyy, spokesman Raj Shah said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
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 of Connecticut said on NBC’s "Meet the Press." “They don’t actually get Democratic votes.”
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.”
Oklahoma 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."
Zelenskyy has said his country’s counteroffensive this year didn’t achieve its goals because allies failed to provide hoped-for weapons. A relentless ground war in eastern and southern Ukraine is heading into the winter as Zelenskyy deals with a troop shortage, uncertainty over military aid and divisions within the E.U.
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