Pelosi, delegation visits Ukraine with message of unity, support – New York Daily News

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a visit by fellow lawmakers to Ukraine over the weekend, delivering a message of solidarity as the evacuation of the devastated city of Mariupol was underway.

Pelosi of California and six other Democratic members of Congress met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for about three hours Saturday night in a surprise trip that was not revealed until the next day.

“Our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is over,” Pelosi told Zelenskyy, according to a video of the Kiev meeting released by her office. “We are on the frontier of freedom and your fight is everyone’s fight. Thank you for your fight for freedom.”

“You are all welcome,” Zelenskyy replied.

After the high-level meeting, Pelosi and the delegation traveled to neighboring Poland.

“We were proud to convey to him the message of unity from the United States Congress, a message of appreciation from the American people for his leadership and admiration for the people of Ukraine for their courage,” Pelosi said, CNBC reported.

President Biden is asking Congress to authorize $33 billion in aid to Ukraine, which has received billions of dollars in US humanitarian and military support since Russia launched its invasion more than two months ago.

New York Representative Gregory Meeks was part of Pelosi’s delegation.

“We continue to be inspired by the Ukrainian people and their strength in the face of unfathomable challenges,” said the Queens politician, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Twitter.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Ukraine last month.

Since Russia launched its brutal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the US has sent about $14 billion in aid, according to NPR.

Assistance included crucial weaponry, but the US and its NATO allies did not send troops.

Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.) said Sunday that the violence in Ukraine “is not necessarily” a proxy war between the US and Russia.

“If Russia cannot defeat Ukraine with a much larger army, with more sophisticated weaponry and a much vaunted army, then it has to think about creating acts of aggression against any other country in Europe or anywhere else,” Menendez, president of the Senate. Committee on Foreign Affairs, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We don’t want to see Russia enter Moldova [or] … a NATO country and Poland or Lithuania, or any other country,” he said.

Denmark and Sweden on Sunday accused Russia of violating their airspace.

A Russian spy plane was in Danish space “for a very brief moment”, officials told Agence-France Presse.

Both Denmark, which is a member of NATO, and Sweden, which is considering joining the alliance, said they would summon Russian ambassadors to discuss the incident, according to the BBC.

Meanwhile, evacuation efforts have begun in the southeastern blockaded city of Mariupol.

An estimated 100,000 Ukrainians are trapped in the Russian-controlled city, with around 2,000 soldiers and 1,000 civilians sheltering in a steel mill.

About 100 people in the first group of evacuees managed to escape the grim conditions on Sunday morning, Zelenskyy tweeted.

“Thanks to our team!” He wrote. “Now they, together with the #UN, are working on the evacuation of other civilians from the plant.”

Since Russian forces withdrew from the area around Kiev last month, they have been focusing on eastern Ukraine. Bombing was reported along the border over the weekend.

But in northeast Kharkiv – one of the first targets of Russia’s invasion – Ukrainian soldiers have recaptured four settlements, a military official told the BBC.

“In Kutuzovka, about 100 people, mostly elderly people and children, lived in cold basements for two months without light, gas and food supplies,” said regional governor Oleg Sinegubov. “Today our defenders were met with tears.”

Across the country in western Lviv, actress Angelina Jolie visited displaced people on Saturday, according to Maksym Kozytskyy, Lviv’s regional governor.

She met children injured in Russia’s brutal attack in April on the Kramatorsk railway station and visited a boarding school, Kozytskyy said.

Jolie, the United Nations Special Envoy for Refugees, “was very moved by [the children’s] stories,” Kozytskyy wrote on the Telegram messaging service. “One girl was able to tell Mrs. Jolie in particular about a dream she had.”

With news services

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