Ukraine's President Zelenskyy Visits DC As Congress Considers Approving More Aid

The Ukrainian president met behind closed doors with members of the House and Senate before heading to the Pentagon and then to the White House for a sit down with President Biden.

Thursday, September 21st 2023, 12:48 pm

By: CBS News


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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is visiting Washington, D.C., for the second time since Russia launched an assault on his country more than 18 months ago.

The Ukrainian president met behind closed doors with members of the House and Senate before heading to the Pentagon and then to the White House for a sit down with President Biden. But Zelenskyy is encountering a slightly different environment on Capitol Hill than he did in December, when Democrats still controlled the House.

A number of Republicans in the GOP-controlled lower chamber are skeptical, if not vocally critical, of the United States' continued financial assistance of Ukraine, even as Mr. Biden and Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell emphasize how critical that assistance is. After meeting with Zelenskyy, GOP Sen. Josh Hawley said he remains firmly against additional funding for Ukraine.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Zelenskyy requested a joint session of Congress, but McCarthy claimed there wasn't time for that this week — a signal of where Ukraine stands with the GOP-led House. 

"I think the best part is sit down walk through the question of what is the plan for victory, what is the plan in the field, the accountability issues that a lot of members have questions, just walk through that," McCarthy said before meeting with Zelenskyy. 


Zelenskyy's Washington visit follows his first in-person appearance at the United Nations since Russia invaded in February 2022. Both Zelenskyy and Mr. Biden emphasized at the U.N. General Assembly that Ukraine's security is international security. 

"If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?" Mr, Biden asked during his UNGA speech.

In a recent interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes," Zelenskyy warned world order is at stake.

"If Ukraine falls, what will happen in ten years? Just think about it. If [the Russians] reach Poland, what's next? A Third World War?" Zelenskyy told Scott Pelley in a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday. "We're defending the values of the whole world. And these are Ukrainian people who are paying the highest price. We are truly fighting for our freedom, we are dying. We are not fiction, we are not a book. We are fighting for real with a nuclear state that threatens to destroy the world."

— Jack Turman contributed to this report

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