Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky met for about an hour with a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
Zelensky reportedly said little after the closed-door meeting, but he did tell reporters, “We had great dialogue,” while Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that the Ukrainian President had delivered a stern warning: “If we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war.”
Zelensky’s visit to Washington follows the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where Zelensky made an impassioned plea for continuing to support his nation in its war against Russian “aggressors” whom he accused of committing “genocide.”
On Capitol Hill, however, some Republican lawmakers are questioning the flow of U.S. funds into Ukraine amid its 19-month-long war against Russia. In a letter Thursday to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young, nearly 30 Republican Representatives and Senators said they’re rejecting President Biden’s latest request for an additional $24 billion in security, economic and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
On Thursday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) confirmed that he had rejected a request from Zelensky to address a joint meeting of Congress, citing tumultuous negotiations to approve a federal budget and avoid a government shutdown in nine days.
“Look what we’re in the middle of. Do we have time for that?” McCarthy said.
After Capitol Hill, Zelensky was set to head to the White House to hold his sixth face-to-face meeting with President Biden.
He was also scheduled to visit the Pentagon to meet with military leaders and pay his respects at the 9/11 memorial there.