Mitch McConnell visits Kyiv in surprise meeting with Zelensky

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Mitch McConnell visits Kyiv in surprise meeting with Zelensky

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and three other Republican senators made a surprise trip to Kyiv Saturday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — as a bipartisan bill to send $40 billion in additional aid remained stalled in Congress.

The visit, the latest in a string of high-level US trips as the Russian invasion grinds on, was “a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine from the United States Congress and the American people,” Zelensky wrote on his official Instagram account.

“Thank you for your leadership in helping us fight not only for our country, but also for democratic values and freedoms,” the president added. “We really appreciate it.”

McConnell, along with Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), made the trip just two days after their fellow Republican, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, forced a temporary halt to the massive military and humanitarian aid bill.

A top Zelensky aide wrote that the visit signaled an imminent end to the impasse in Congress.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomes U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) before a meeting, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. John Barrasso and Sen. John Cornyn before a meeting, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service via REUTERS
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky guided the senators in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky guided the senators in Ukraine.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service via REUTERS
The senators met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky -- as a bipartisan bill to send $40 billion in additional aid remained stalled in Congress.
The senators met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — as a bipartisan bill to send $40 billion in additional aid remained stalled in Congress.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service via REUTERS

“A decision on $40 billion is expected next week,” Andrij Sybiha wrote on Facebook. “Today, our state has the strong bipartisan and bicameral support of American friends. And the American people.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a similar surprise meeting with Zelensky on May 1, and first lady Jill Biden greeted Zelensky’s wife Olena Zelenska in an unannounced Mother’s Day trip over the Ukrainian border on Sunday.

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