Former President George W. Bush announced on Thursday that he had met virtually with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom the former president called “the Winston Churchill of our time.”

“I was honored to spend a few minutes talking with President Zelenskyy – the Winston Churchill of our time – this morning. I thanked the President for his leadership, his example, and his commitment to liberty, and I saluted the courage of the Ukrainian people,” Bush said in a statement shared through his George W. Bush Presidential Center.

“President Zelenskyy assured me that they will not waver in their fight against Putin’s barbarism and thuggery. Americans are inspired by their fortitude and resilience. We will continue to stand with Ukrainians as they stand up for their freedom,” he added.

Zelensky’s office detailed the meeting in a press release, saying that the Ukrainian president had expressed gratitude toward the American people for their support during the conflict and recalled the sympathy Ukrainians felt toward them following the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

“Our conversation is important to me because you are an example of a strong leader,” Zelensky told the former president during the meeting.

He also invited Bush to visit Ukraine, according to his office.

The development comes as the United States seeks to ramp up financial and military support to Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

Defense officials said on Wednesday that hundreds of Ukrainian forces are currently receiving weapons training from the U.S. military.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the same day that legislation to give Ukraine the $33 billion that President Biden has requested from Congress could be voted on as early as next week.

“The fact is democracy is at stake. Our national security is affected by this. And the leadership role that we play in the world is one that is essential to the essence of who we are,” she said while at a press briefing in Washington state. “Can we afford it? We can’t afford not to do it.”

Pelosi over the weekend made a surprise visit to Ukraine and met with Zelensky in Kyiv along with other lawmakers, saying the purpose behind the visit was to “send a clear message to the world: America stands with Ukraine.”

Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Jason Crow (D-Colo.), Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Bill Keating (D-Mass.) and Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) traveled with Pelosi. 

Tags Biden George W. Bush George W. Bush Nancy Pelosi Russia-Ukraine conflict Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky Volodymyr Zelensky Winston Churchill
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