Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is planning to visit Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to meet with President Biden and address lawmakers at the U.S. Capitol, representing his first trip outside Ukraine since the start of Russia’s war in February.
A congressional aide confirmed that they had been told to expect Zelenskyy on Wednesday. One source familiar with the planning cautioned Tuesday afternoon that the visit was dependent on security.
The White House confirmed Zelenskyy’s travel plans early Wednesday morning.
“President Biden has invited President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to visit Washington D.C. to underscore the United States’ enduring commitment to Ukraine,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
If the trip goes as planned, Zelenskyy will visit Washington as lawmakers prepare to pass a massive government funding bill with roughly $45 billion in additional security and economic assistance for Ukraine’s efforts in the ongoing war.
The war is about to stretch into its eleventh month and proponents of additional Ukraine funding say that it’s necessary to help Kyiv fight the Russians through the challenging winter months.
“There’s rumors, speculation about a Russian offensive which they’d have to respond to and also this is an opportunity for them to gain ground,” Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Semafor on Monday before the omnibus bill text was released.
Meanwhile, a vocal group of House Republicans have expressed opposition to further helping Ukraine, raising doubts about the ability of the next Congress to pass more aid for Kyiv under Republican control. Lawmakers are hoping to finish work on the funding bill this week before a Friday deadline.