Biden will host Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House on Tuesday

Kevin Lamarque – Reuters

US President Joe Biden embraces Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, September 21, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX Photos of the Day


President Joe Biden will host Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House on Tuesday, as discussions on an aid deal for Ukraine remain stalled in Congress.

The visit, which was announced by the White House on Sunday, is Zelensky’s second visit to Washington since the start of the war in Ukraine. His last visit was in September.

Zelensky’s visit comes at a critical moment in Congressional negotiations on providing emergency aid to Ukraine. It appears that Congress is no closer to reaching an agreement Linking immigration and border policy changes to an emergency aid package that will provide funding to Ukraine and Israel before lawmakers leave town for the holidays.

The Ukrainian president was also invited to speak at an all-Senator meeting Tuesday morning by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, a Senate leadership aide said. House Speaker Mike Johnson’s office said in a statement that he would also meet with Zelensky.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that the White House meeting was intended to “underscore the United States’ unwavering commitment to supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s brutal invasion.”

She added: “As Russia intensifies its missile and drone strikes against Ukraine, leaders will discuss Ukraine’s urgent needs and the vital importance of continued US support at this critical moment.”

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The Ukrainian presidential office said in a statement on Sunday that the two leaders would discuss “further defense cooperation” in a series of meetings on Tuesday.

Zelensky will focus on “securing unity between the United States, Europe and the rest of the world,” supporting Ukraine’s defense against Russia, and “strengthening the rules-based international order and respect for the sovereignty of states,” the statement said.

Zelensky and Biden will also discuss defense cooperation efforts for next year, including joint projects to produce weapons and air defense systems.

If Congress leaves town for the holidays without reaching a deal, the White House will have to figure it out Difficult choices about supplying allies like Ukraine At the expense of American military preparedness. Senior officials in the Biden administration have been sounding the alarm for weeks about funding drying up for Ukraine and the potential consequences.

The administration’s proposed $106 billion aid package includes about $60 billion in aid for Ukraine’s defenses against Russia, with the rest going toward Israel’s war with Hamas, security in Taiwan, and funding operations on the U.S.-Mexico border.

But top Republicans, concerned about adding more to the $111 billion the United States has already sent to Ukraine, have demanded that any additional funding be tied to major immigration policy changes.

“History will judge harshly those who turn their backs on the cause of freedom,” Biden said earlier this month. “We cannot allow Putin to win.”

The president said he was willing to make “significant concessions on the border,” acknowledging that the country’s immigration system is “broken,” but adding that Ukraine’s needs are too critical to wait. He called out “extremist Republicans” while negotiators remain in an awkward stalemate over the thorny issue of border security, saying these Republicans are “playing chicken with our national security.”

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“Frankly, I think it’s astonishing that we got to this point in the first place…Russian forces are committing war crimes — it’s that simple. It’s astonishing,” Biden said.

Ukraine announced on Saturday that Russia launched nearly 100 air attacks across the country within 24 hours, while the First Lady of Ukraine warned that Ukraine was in “Mortal dangerWithout Western military assistance.

Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska recently told the BBC about her support for Ukraine: “We really need help.” “In simple words, we cannot tire of this situation, because if we do, we will die.

“If the world gets tired, they will simply let us die.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Michael Williams Betsy Cline, Priscilla Alvarez And Lauren Fox She contributed to this report.

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