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Mitch McConnell leads Republican delegation to kyiv and meets with Zelensky

Mitch McConnell leads the Republican delegation to kyiv and meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, as he calls on the Senate to pass a $40 billion aid package

  • McConnell and three other Republican senators paid a surprise visit to kyiv on Saturday.
  • Video shows Zelensky welcoming the delegation on a street in the capital
  • The Ukrainian president called the visit “a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine.”
  • McConnell said this week the Senate should immediately pass a $40 billion relief bill.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell led a delegation of Republican lawmakers to kyiv on Saturday and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The video shared by Zelensky shows him greeting the Republican delegation on a street in kyiv, which remains firmly under Ukraine’s control nearly two months after Russia launched its invasion of the country.

The video showed McConnell, who represents the state of Kentucky, and Senators Susan Collins of Maine, John Barrasso of Wyoming and John Cornyn of Texas greeting Zelensky.

McConnell said Thursday that the Senate needs to pass a new aid package for Ukraine immediately, after the House of Representatives this week approved $40 billion in new assistance for kyiv.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomes US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. John Barrasso (R- WY) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in kyiv on Saturday.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomes US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. John Barrasso (R- WY) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in kyiv on Saturday.

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky (center), in a statement described the delegation's visit as

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (center) in a statement called the delegation’s visit “a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine.”

“I strongly support the next lethal military assistance package, which the House passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority. I hope the Senate can agree to consider and pass this legislation today. Ukrainians need it. We have to do it today,’ he said on the Senate floor.

The McConnell delegation’s trip was not announced in advance for security reasons.

Zelensky in a statement called the delegation’s visit “a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine.”

“Thank you for your leadership in helping us fight not only for our country, but also for democratic values ​​and freedoms.”

Meanwhile, forces from kyiv and Moscow are fighting an uphill battle for the country’s eastern industrial heartland.

Russian troops are withdrawing from the outskirts of Ukraine’s second-largest city after weeks of shelling it, the Ukrainian military said on Saturday.

The McConnell delegation's trip was not announced in advance for security reasons.

The McConnell delegation’s trip was not announced in advance for security reasons.

McConnell visited kyiv after saying the Senate needs to pass a new $40 billion aid package for Ukraine immediately.

McConnell visited kyiv after saying the Senate needs to pass a new $40 billion aid package for Ukraine immediately.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomes Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomes Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

Ukraine’s general staff said the Russians were withdrawing from the northeastern city of Kharkiv and concentrating on protecting supply routes, while launching mortar, artillery and air strikes in the eastern province of Donetsk to “exhaust Ukrainian forces and destroy the fortifications”.

Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Ukraine was “entering a new phase of the long-term war.”

Zelenskyy said that the Ukrainians were doing their best to expel the Russian invaders and that the outcome of the war would depend on the support of Europe and other allies.

“No one can predict today how long this war will last,” Zelenskyy said in his late-night video address Friday night.

Story in development, more to follow.

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