U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has led a Congressional delegation to Kyiv to meet with Ukraine's president before heading to Poland for talks with officials there.
Pelosi, a California Democrat and second in line to the presidency after the vice president, 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.
“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 released Sunday.
Footage released by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office showed Pelosi and other U.S. legislators in Kyiv.
The full Congressional delegation included Democratic Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Adam Schiff, of California who chairs the House Intelligence Committee; Jim McGovern of Massachusetts who chairs the House Rules Committee; Jason Crow of Colorado; Barbara Lee of California; and Bill Keating of Massachusetts.
“You all are welcome,” Zelenskyy told the delegation.
Pelosi told Zelenskyy: “We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom."
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“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 added.
Pelosi said in a statement posted to the speaker's website that the trip was meant "to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine."
The visit was not previously announced.
Pelosi said the delegation would continue its trip in southeast Poland and the capital, Warsaw, to meet with President Andrzej Duda and other senior officials. Poland has received more than 3 million refugees from Ukraine since Russia launched its war on Feb. 24.
“We look forward to thanking our Polish allies for their dedication and humanitarian efforts,” she said.
In a news conference in Poland, Pelosi said she and others in the delegation applauded the courage of the Ukrainian people. She added that the delegation brought Zelenskyy “a message of appreciation from the American people for his leadership.”
Schiff said the U.S. lawmakers had a three-hour meeting with Zelenskyy and his administration, talking about sanctions, weapons and aid assistance. Schiff promised that intelligence sharing would continue between Ukraine and the U.S.
“This is a struggle of freedom against tyranny,” Schiff said. “And in that struggle, Ukraine is on the front lines.”
McGovern said Russia's war had repercussions far beyond Ukraine, suggesting that it could have disastrous effects on the world's food supply and consequently for poor people across the globe.
“Putin’s brutal war is no longer only a war against the people of Ukraine,” McGovern said. “It’s also a war against the world’s most vulnerable.”
He added that Ukraine is a “breadbasket of the world.”
“I don’t think that Putin cares if he starves the world,” McGovern said.
This is a live update. Click here for complete coverage of the crisis in Ukraine.