Zelensky to meet with Biden, Republicans as war funding dries up

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Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky will travel to Washington Tuesday to meet US President Joe Biden and plead his case before Republicans balking at sending more money for his fight against Russia, amid warnings aid will run out in weeks.

In a flurry of diplomatic activity after the White House announced Zelensky’s visit, an aide for Mike Johnson said the new Republican speaker for the House of Representatives — who has been trying to tie Ukraine aid to funding for US border security — will also meet with the Ukrainian leader Tuesday.

And a Senate official said Democratic majority leader Chuck Schumer and Republican leader Mitch McConnell likewise invited Zelensky to speak at an all-Senators meeting Tuesday morning — one week after several Republicans angrily walked out of a classified Ukraine briefing that he had been due to address via video.

Biden and Zelensky “will discuss Ukraine’s urgent needs” as it fights off a Russian invasion, and “the vital importance of the United States’ continued support at this critical moment,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

The Ukrainian presidency said the meeting will focus on key issues such as “joint projects on the production of weapons and air defense systems, as well as the coordination of efforts between our countries in the coming year.”

Republican senators last week blocked $106 billion in emergency aid primarily for Ukraine and Israel after conservatives balked at the exclusion of immigration reforms they had demanded as part of the package.

It was a setback for Biden, who had urged lawmakers to approve the funds, warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not stop with victory in Ukraine and could even attack a NATO nation.

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