Senate invited to speak with Zelensky Saturday
Senators have been invited to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky via Zoom on Saturday, a Senate aide confirmed to The Hill.
The meeting, which would take place on Saturday morning, would be the first time the full Senate has been able to speak with Zelensky since Russian President Vladimir Putin began his invasion of Ukraine late last month.
The meeting comes as lawmakers are working to pass billions in new aid for Ukraine and gives Zelensky the chance to pitch members of Congress directly on what his country needs as it fights back against the Russian invasion. Though Putin has faced setbacks, Russia still has a military advantage over Ukraine and has been attacking multiple key cities.
Zelensky’s talk with lawmakers comes after other Ukrainian officials met with members of Congress earlier this week. Ukrainian ambassador Oksana Markarova met with members of Senate and warned them Ukraine needs more supplies to help fight the Russian military.
Meanwhile, Oleksandra Ustinova, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, told members of the House that causalities in Ukraine would climb without a “no-fly zone” to prevent Moscow from entering Ukraine’s air space. That idea has garnered bipartisan pushback in Washington because it would include U.S. forces potentially having to shoot down Russian planes, putting the two countries in direct conflict.
Zelensky has also been in touch with world leaders, including President Biden, as he urges support for his country, frequently providing updates via social media. The Senate’s Zoom call was first reported by NBC News.
Zelensky’s response to Russia’s invasion has earned him bipartisan praise in Washington both for his refusal to leave Ukraine and resolve to fight the Russian military.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, compared him to the late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
“One of the questions the other day in the Intelligence Committee [was] was Zelensky going to be Ghani, the Afghan leader who cut and run once the Taliban started to move forward, or was he going to be Churchill? And so far, he has been Churchillian in his response,” Warner said in a Washington Post Live interview.