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LONDON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., led a delegation of Republican senators on Saturday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.
Zelensky shared a video of the surprise online meeting, calling the visit a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine.
Pictures show the senses. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and John Cornyn, R-Texas, marching alongside McConnell in the Ukrainian capital.
“Thank you for your leadership in helping us in our fight not only for our country, but also for democratic values and freedoms,” Zelensky wrote. “We really appreciate that.”
On Thursday, McConnell encouraged “both sides” of the Senate to immediately pass an additional aid package for Ukraine after the House of Representatives approved $40 billion in aid for the war-torn country.
“I strongly support the next lethal military assistance package, which the House passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority,” McConnell said in the Senate.
“I hope the Senate can reach an agreement to review and pass this legislation today. Ukrainians need it. We need to do it today.”
However, Senate approval was delayed and pushed back to next week after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., challenged leaders of both parties and opposed the deal.
“No matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is to the national security of the United States of America,” Paul said. “We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the American economy.”
McConnell, however, pushed back: “Helping 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 added.
On May 1, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also traveled to Kyiv, becoming the most senior US official to visit the capital, along with a delegation of Democratic lawmakers.
This group included Reps. Adam Schiff, D-California; Gregory Meeks, DN.Y. ; Jason Crow, D-Colo.; Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and Bill Keating, D-Mass.
What happened last week in Ukraine? Check out this explainer from Yahoo Immersive to find out.
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