“Our delegation traveled to Kyiv to send an unequivocal and resounding message to the world: America stands firmly with Ukraine,” the group said in a statement. “When we return to the United States, we will do so more informed, deeply inspired, and ready to do what is necessary to help the people of Ukraine as they stand up for democracy for their nation and for the world.
The short trip carried immense security risks as Russian forces continue to attack civilian areas across Ukraine. Pelosi, who is running second in the presidency, is now the most senior US official to visit the battered nation.
“Our commitment is to be here for you until the fight is over,” Pelosi told Zelenskyy when they met.
His trip follows a visit by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who entered the country by train and met Zelenskyy in a windowless underground bunker in Kyiv on April 24.
The Pelosi-led trip marked the first official congressional delegation to Ukraine since the invasion began. While other groups of lawmakers plan to travel to countries bordering the conflict like Poland during the upcoming House recess, none have planned to travel directly to the active war zone.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have not yet visited Ukraine, although other Western heads of state, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have made the trip.
However, other US lawmakers have made unofficial visits. Two Republicans, Senator Steve Daines of Montana and Ukrainian-born Representative Victoria Spartz of Indiana, visited towns on the outskirts of kyiv that are now sites of war crimes investigations.
Pelosi’s visit comes just days after Biden asked Congress to approve $33 billion in additional emergency funding for Ukraine, including $20 billion for military aid – an assistance package massive and underlines the long-term nature of the American commitment. Congressional leaders have pledged to act quickly on the request, but the exact legislative path remains unclear.
“It’s historic,” Pelosi said of the proposed aid package at a news conference on Friday. “We hope to pass this legislation as soon as possible.”