Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to travel to Washington next week after a gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Zelensky’s visit to Capitol Hill is tentatively scheduled for Thursday. The trip was coordinated with the Biden administration in a joint push to reinforce the importance to Congress granting the White House’s supplemental budget request for more than $24 billion in additional aid to Ukraine. Those familiar with the Ukrainian leader’s plans spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the visit publicly.
A spokesperson for Zelensky did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While Republican leaders, Democrats and the White House insist that a majority of Congress continues to support helping Ukraine, there’s been growing tension within the Republican Party — and among a small number of Democrats — over how much assistance the United States should grant Ukraine.
Capitol Hill is feeling the pressure as the country heads into an election year, and Ukraine’s highly anticipated summer offensive has made only minor territorial gains thus far. So, with each subsequent ask for funding, securing congressional approval is likely to grow more challenging, lawmakers and analysts have said.
The Republican presidential primary race also is playing a role in the intraparty clash over Ukraine, with former president Donald Trump and other candidates questioning the necessity for the continued security assistance.
This will mark Zelensky’s second visit to Washington since the war in Ukraine began, after a trip late last year — his first abroad since the war began. Punchbowl News first reported the development.
On the trip last December, the Ukrainian president visited the White House, where President Biden reiterated the steadfast U.S. commitment to supporting Ukraine through the war. He also delivered a speech to Congress, delivering a plea for continued support against Russian aggression.
In May, Biden and Zelensky held an in-person bilateral meeting in Japan during the Group of 7 summit, part of a dramatic last-minute visit by the Ukrainian leader.
Zelensky’s visit to Washington comes on the heels of high-profile diplomatic meetings on both sides of the war.
Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Zelensky in Kyiv, pledging an additional $1 billion in U.S. assistance. Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting with Kim Jong-Un this week, with the North Korean leader pledging his country’s full support for the Russian government amid the war.
Abigail Hauslohner contributed to this report.