WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, traveled to Ukraine on Saturday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky, leading the latest delegation of U.S. lawmakers to the country as the United States deepens its involvement in kyiv’s struggle against the Russian invasion.
The surprise visit by McConnell, who was accompanied by three senior Republican senators, comes as the Senate works to pass a $40 billion emergency military and humanitarian aid package for the United States. Ukraine. It follows a string of other clandestine visits, including from First Lady Jill Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The trip, a rare international visit for Mr. McConnell, highlights widespread bipartisan support for Ukraine in Washington as the country tries to fend off Russia’s invasion, even as questions remain over Ukraine’s overall strategy. Biden administration in the face of the conflict and the scope of American assistance. .
“Aiding Ukraine is not an example of mere philanthropy – it bears directly on America’s national security and vital interests that Russia’s naked aggression does not succeed and incurs significant costs,” he said. Mr. McConnell this week. “If Ukraine fails to repel Russian aggression, there is no doubt that the threat to American and European security will increase.”
The trip was disclosed by Mr. Zelensky’s office. Details were not yet available from lawmakers.
Mr. McConnell was joined by Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming, a member of his leadership team and Foreign Relations Committee; John Cornyn of Texas, member of the intelligence committee; and Susan Collins of Maine, who sits on both the intelligence committee and the appropriations committee, which oversees government funding.
The Senate on Thursday failed to fast track the $40 billion emergency package for Ukraine because a Republican senator, Rand Paul of Kentucky, refused to agree to lift procedural hurdles and approve the measure without having the possibility of adding a proposal establishing an inspector. general to monitor how the money is spent. The measure should still pass next week.