Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (Republican) in Kyiv on Saturday, calling the visit “a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine from the U.S. Parliament and the U.S. people.” is. The office said.

However, in Washington, Republican opposition has put new funding in the Senate for the Ukrainian fight against Russia’s aggression.

In a video posted by Zelensky on his Instagram page, McConnell and Republican Senator Susan Collins (Maine), John Barrasso (Wyoming), and John Cornyn (Texas) were greeted by Zelensky on Kieu Street.

“Russia is genocide against Ukrainian people,” Zelensky said in a news release announcing a visit by Senator. “Europe has not seen such crimes since World War II.”

He mentioned the “special role of the United States” in strengthening sanctions on Russia and said he was looking forward to further sanctions on Russia’s banking sector. “In addition, we believe that Russia should be officially recognized as a national supporter of terrorism,” Zelensky said.

Republican senator officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment at the beginning of Saturday.

Parliament is ready to approve about $ 40 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, surpassing President Biden’s $ 33 billion demand and Moscow invading the country’s south and east. As we move forward, we will expand our new lifeline to Kyiv. The passage of a bill approved by the House of Representatives earlier this week will bring the total amount of Ukrainian aid provided by Parliament to more than $ 53 billion since the invasion began on February 24.

The list of anti-Ukrainian Republicans is growing rapidly

The Senate is likely to follow the House in approving the package, but after Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Opposes a swift vote on support for Ukraine on Thursday, weakening bipartisan push. The effort will maintain steady assistance to Kieu, which has been postponed until next week. Faced with a backlash but upholding his decision, Paul could stand alone to prevent the package from advancing as the Senate requires unanimous consent to quickly move such bills to final vote. I did. Here, the chamber should jump all the normal procedure hoops.

Senate supporter Rand Paul postpones voting for Ukrainian aid to next week

Zelensky said the Senate was close to $ 40 billion when Ukrainian authorities were negotiating with Russia to evacuate 60 “severely injured” people and health workers from the besieged Azovstal ironworks in Mariupol. He expressed his hope for prompt approval of the package. Zelensky described the negotiations as “very difficult” late Friday, adding that “we will not stop trying to save everyone from Mariupol and Zelensky.”

Despite the struggle in Mariupol, Ukrainian troops solidified the ground in the Kharkov region, pushing Russian troops north toward the border and cultivating towns and villages in the region, U.S. senior defense officials said on Friday. I told reporters. The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said Ukraine “seems to have won the Battle of Kharkiv.” The Kremlin added that, in the midst of a vigorous Ukrainian counterattack and limited Russian reinforcements, it “probably decided to withdraw completely” from its location around the city.

McConnell’s delegation’s unannounced trip to Kieu has been to Ukraine in recent weeks by senior U.S. and allied government officials, lawmakers and officials to show support for the war-torn country and its embarrassed leaders. Continued the parade of visits to.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with Zelensky on April 24 on the highest level visit by the US delegation since the beginning of the war. On April 30, house speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Led a Democratic parliamentary delegation to Kieu for a meeting with Zelensky. Pelosi vowed to the President of Ukraine that the United States has promised to “be there for you until the end of the battle.”

Last weekend, first lady Jill Biden crossed the border into Ukraine and traveled to a vibrant war zone in a rare move for the spouse of the incumbent president. Biden entered the country from Slovakia on Mother’s Day and met Ukrainian first lady Olena Zellenska, who had not been publicly seen since the invasion of Russia began.

“I wanted to come to Mother’s Day,” Biden said before the private meeting between the two first women began. “I thought it was important to stop this war, and to show the Ukrainians that this war was cruel and that the Americans were standing with the Ukrainians. “

Amy Chen and Eugene Scott contributed to this report.

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