President Biden is set to host Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House on Tuesday, the Administration announced.
The meeting will mark Zelensky’s third visit to the U.S. since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Along with Biden, he will also meet with Congressional leaders, as he did during his last visit in September.
The Ukrainian President’s visit comes as Congressional Republicans are digging in their heels against any further funding for Ukraine—or at least making it contingent on other agreements from Democrats, including beefed up border security and immigration laws.
Biden has requested $106 billion in new spending to send aid to Ukraine, Israel, Indo-Pacific countries and for humanitarian purposes in Gaza, as well as for increased border security, but that request was not taken up by Congress when it passed its latest round of stopgap funding in mid-November.
This past Wednesday, Biden addressed the nation from the White House ahead of a procedural vote on his spending package in the Senate, during which the President said, “I support real solutions at the border. I put together a comprehensive plan the first day I came into office. I made it clear that we need Congress to make changes to fix what is a broken immigration system….and I’m willing to do significantly more.”
Republicans succeeded in blocking the spending package on Wednesday.
“Make no mistake: today’s vote is going to be long remembered,” Biden warned ahead of the Senate session, “and history is going to judge harshly those who turned their back on freedom’s cause. We can’t let Putin win.”
For his part, Zelensky on Tuesday plans to focus on “securing unity among the U.S., Europe, and the rest of the world” on their support of Ukraine’s defense against Russia and “strengthening the international order based on rules and respect for the sovereignty of nations,” according to a statement from his office.
Zelensky and Biden will also discuss defensive cooperation efforts for the coming year, including joint projects to produce weapons and air defense systems.