Volodymyr Zelensky To Visit Washington

December 20, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is traveling to Washington on Wednesday and address a joint session of Congress, according to multiple reports.

The Ukrainian President tweeted at 1am Eastern Time, “On my way to the US to strengthen resilience and defense capabilities of [Ukraine].”

Zelensky’s first trip to the U.S.—or anywhere outside his home nation—since Russia invaded Ukraine in February is expected to include a meeting with President Biden and top Administration officials, and it is set to coincide with plans to send Ukraine a new defense assistance package that will include Patriot missile systems.

The visit also comes as Congress is within days of having to pass its $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill to keep the government running past Friday, and language within the bill includes $27.9 billion in emergency Department of Defense spending for Ukraine on top of a $69.3 billion budget increase for the Pentagon over fiscal year 2022 levels.

The Ukrainian President has addressed Congress before—remotely, on March 16, roughly three weeks after Russia’s invasion. 

Military aid for Ukraine has enjoyed bipartisan support from Congress. However, ahead of the midterm elections House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who’s hoping to become Speaker when Republicans take Majority control of the House on January 3, said in an interview, “Ukraine is important, but at the same time it can’t be the only thing [we] do and it can’t be a blank check.”

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