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US Senate Republican leader brings delegation to Kyiv, meets with Zelenskyy

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks off the Senate floor in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30, 2021. (Shawn Thew/Pool/ABACAPRESS.COM/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and a delegation of Republican senators arrived in Kyiv for an unannounced visit and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a show of support for the besieged country.

McConnell (Kentucky) traveled with Susan Collins (Maine), John Barrasso (Wyoming), and John Cornyn (Texas) to the Ukrainian capital, with Zelenskiy calling the visit “a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine from the United States Congress and the American people.”

The trip came as a new round of funding for Ukraine’s battle against the unprovoked Russian invasion is facing a delay in the U.S. Senate because of a Republican member’s objection.

The Senate is working to approve a nearly $40 billion package for Ukraine, but its passage has been held up by Senator Rand Paul, also of Kentucky, who demanded the inclusion of a proposal to have an inspector general scrutinize the new spending.

Nevertheless, final approval is not in doubt and could come in the upcoming week as Ukraine has widespread bipartisan support in Congress.

The McConnell-led visit is the second by a high-profile congressional delegation over the past two weeks.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-California) visited on May 1 with a group of House Democrats, bringing a promise of continued U.S. aid to Ukraine.