GOP Senators Make Unannounced Trip to Kyiv

Zelensky welcomes display 'of bipartisan support'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2022 2:25 PM CDT
GOP Senators Make Unannounced Trip to Kyiv
A Ukrainian government photo shows President Zelensky meeting Saturday with, from left, Sens. John Barrasso, Mitch McConnell, Susan Collins, and John Cornyn in Kyiv.   (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

(Newser) – The latest unannounced trip to Ukraine by US politicos was made Saturday by four Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the visit as "a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine," the Washington Post reports. The meeting was announced Saturday by Zelensky's office; the lawmakers had not yet disclosed it. Photos and videos posted on Zelensky's social media accounts showed Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John Barrasso of Wyoming, and John Cornyn of Texas also meeting the president, per CNN.

McConnell doesn't often go abroad, per the New York Times, but the Senate is working on a $40 billion emergency military and humanitarian aid package to help Ukraine defeat the Russian invasion, legislation that was held up by GOP Sen. Rand Paul. "Helping Ukraine is not an instance of mere philanthropy—it bears directly on America’s national security and vital interests that Russia’s naked aggression not succeed," McConnell, Kentucky's other senator, said this week.

In a statement on Instagram, Zelensky thanked the visiting senators "for your leadership in helping us in our struggle not only for our country, but also for democratic values and freedoms. We really appreciate it." McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had combined forces to try to pass the aid quickly before Paul blocked the effort. Schumer plans to make procedural maneuverings next week to push the package through. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a similar trip to Kyiv at the beginning of the month, taking a delegation of Democrats with her to meet Zelensky. (Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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