KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a congressional delegation to Kyiv to meet with Ukraine’s president before heading to Poland for talks with officials on Sunday.
Pelosi, a California Democrat who sits second in the presidency after vice president, is the highest-ranking U.S. lawmaker to visit Ukraine since the war in Russia began more than two months ago. His visit to Kyiv on Saturday marks a big show of continued support for the country’s fight against Moscow.
“Our delegation traveled to Kyiv to send an unequivocal and resounding message to the world: America stands firmly with Ukraine,” Pelosi said in a statement released Sunday.
Footage released by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office shows Pelosi and other US lawmakers in kyiv. In a video later released by Pelosi’s office, the speaker and Zelenskyy both thanked each other for their support during the war.
“We will win and we will win together,” Zelenskyy said.
Pelosi added: “We are here until the victory is won.”
The full congressional delegation included Democratic Representatives 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; Colorado’s Jason Crow; Barbara Lee from California; and Bill Keating of Massachusetts.
“You are all welcome,” Zelenskyy told the delegation.
Pelosi told Zelenskyy, “We believe we are visiting you to thank you for your fight for freedom.”
“We are on the frontier of freedom and your fight is a fight for everyone. Our commitment is to be here for you until the fight is over,” Pelosi added.
The visit had not been previously announced.
The delegation continued its trip to southeastern Poland, and Pelosi said she would later travel to the capital, Warsaw, to meet President Andrzej Duda and other senior officials. Poland has taken in more than 3 million Ukrainian refugees since Russia launched its war on February 24.
“We look forward to thanking our Polish allies for their dedication and humanitarian efforts,” she said.
At a press conference in Poland, Pelosi said she and other members of 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 US lawmakers had a three-hour meeting with Zelenskyy and his administration to talk about sanctions, weapons and aid. Schiff promised that intelligence sharing would continue between Ukraine and the United States
“It’s a struggle for freedom against tyranny,” Schiff said. “And in this fight, Ukraine is on the front line.”
McGovern said Russia’s war had repercussions far beyond Ukraine, saying it was exacerbating a food crisis that would be disastrous for the world’s poor.
“Putin’s brutal war is no longer just a war against the Ukrainian people,” McGovern said. “It is also a war against the world’s most vulnerable.”
He added that Ukraine is a “breadbasket of the world”.
“I don’t think Putin cares about starving the world,” McGovern said.
An earlier version of this story has been corrected to show Pelosi is second in line after the presidency, not third.
More AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine