Ukraine’s Zelensky expected to visit Washington as Congress debates $24 billion in aid

Three men sit at a table with microphones.
Flanked by chief aide Andriy Yermak, left, and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in Kyiv on Sept. 6.
(Brendan Smialowski / Associated Press)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected at the White House and on Capitol Hill next week as he visits the U.S. during the United Nations General Assembly.

Zelensky’s trip comes as Congress is debating President Biden’s request to provide as much as $24 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine as it fights the Russian invasion.

Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security advisor, on Friday confirmed that Biden will host Zelensky at the White House on Thursday. It will mark the third time that the two leaders have met at the White House.


“It certainly comes at a critical time, as Russia desperately seeks help from countries like North Korea for its brutal war in Ukraine, as Ukrainian forces continue to make progress in their counteroffensive, and just after the next Ukraine defense contact group meeting that [Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III] is organizing with dozens of our allies and partners in Europe earlier next week,” Sullivan said during a briefing at the White House on Friday.

Sullivan also confirmed that Zelensky will visit the Capitol.

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“I think he’s looking forward to the opportunity not just to see President Biden here at the White House, but also to see congressional leaders from both parties to make the case that the United States has been a great friend and partner to Ukraine throughout this entire brutal war,” he said.

The Ukrainian president made a wartime visit to Washington in December 2022 and delivered an impassioned address to a joint meeting of Congress. At the time it was his first known trip outside his country since Russia invaded in February of that year.

In his speech to cheering lawmakers, Zelensky thanked Americans for helping to fund the war effort and said that the money is “not charity,” but an “investment” in global security and democracy.

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Details of Zelensky’s visit next week were first reported by Punchbowl News.

Meanwhile, the Treasury and State departments announced they were imposing new sanctions on more than 150 individuals and entities connected with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. was “continuing our relentless work to target Russia’s military supply chains and deprive [Russian President Vladimir] Putin of the equipment, technology, and services he needs to wage his barbaric war on Ukraine.”


Congress is increasingly divided over providing additional funding for Ukraine with the war in its second year. Biden has sought a package of $13.1 billion in additional military aid for Ukraine and $8.5 billion for humanitarian support. It also includes $2.3 billion for financing and to catalyze donors through the World Bank.

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But conservative Republican lawmakers have been pushing for broad federal spending cuts and some of those allied with former President Trump are specifically looking to stop money to Ukraine.

Congress is working to pass its annual appropriations bills before a Sept. 30 deadline to keep the U.S. government running.

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