U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has met with Ukraine’s president during a visit to the country’s embattled capital, Kyiv, to send the message that the United States stands firmly with Ukraine as it resists "Putin's diabolic invasion," she said.
Pelosi, third in line to the presidency, is the highest-ranking American leader to visit Ukraine since the start of the war, and her visit marks a major show of continuing support for the country's struggle against Russia.
Footage released early Sunday by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office showed Pelosi in Kyiv with a Congressional delegation including representatives Jason Crow, Jim McGovern and Adam Schiff.
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Zelenskyy, flanked by an armed escort, greeted Pelosi outside his presidential office, dressed in the khaki military garb he has worn for public appearances since the start of Russia's invasion on February 24.
“You all are welcome,” Zelenskyy told the delegation.
"Our delegation traveled to Kyiv to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine," Pelosi said in a statement.
She added, “We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom. We are on a frontier of freedom and your fight is a fight for everyone. Our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done."
Pelosi said Zelenskyy had made clear Ukraine needed more security, economic and humanitarian aid "to address the devastating human toll taken on the Ukrainian people by [President Vladimir] Putin's diabolic invasion."
"Our delegation proudly delivered the message that additional American support is on the way," she said.
The visit was not previously announced.
"The United States is the leader in strong support for Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression," Zelenskyy said on Twitter. "Thank you for helping to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state."
On Friday, Pelosi said she hoped to pass a $33 billion aid package for Ukraine requested by President Joe Biden as soon as possible – a dramatic escalation of U.S. funding for Ukraine more than two months after Russia launched what it calls a "special military operation."
Biden's funding request includes over $20 billion for weapons, ammunition and other military assistance, as well as $8.5 billion in direct economic assistance to the Ukrainian government and $3 billion in humanitarian aid.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv, using the first official U.S. visit to Ukraine since Russia invaded two months ago to announce a gradual return of U.S. diplomats and the nomination of a new ambassador.