Pelosi’s secret visit to Ukraine highlights breadth — and limitations — of U.S. support

The secret visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to Kyiv on Saturday demonstrated a remarkable display of US support for the beleaguered Ukrainians, and provided further evidence that policymakers in Washington are bracing for a long conflict and ready to provide assistance in the long run.

The surprise trip – which marked the first visit by members of Congress inside Ukraine since Russia began its invasion more than two months ago – included a long discussion between Pelosi and her delegation, which included six other prominent Democrats in the House of Representatives, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about the state of the fighting, the nature of Western aid and expectations What will come.

Pelosi then promised that US support would continue “until victory is achieved.”

“Don’t be bullied by bullies,” she said Tell journalists after that. If they make threats, you can’t back down.

But if the three-hour meeting demonstrated the strong ties between the two democratic allies – and the US commitment to defend Ukraine from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s imperial designs – it also highlights the limits of Western intervention.

While the US has already approved more than $13 billion in military, humanitarian and economic support for Ukraine since the February 24 invasion – and the Biden administration last week requested another $33 billion, which Congress appears ready to approve – the US and NATO (NATO). The allies have also refused to confront Russian forces directly for fear of escalating the fight with a volatile Putin, who controls the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.

The laissez-faire approach, illustrating the limitations of Western military power in the age of nuclear weapons, persisted even as more and more atrocities perpetrated by Russian forces, including the deliberate targeting of civilians, surfaced.

On Sunday, Zelensky was a diplomat in his meeting with Pelosi and Democrats — he said in Brief video His office posted it on Twitter — but he was also forceful in voicing his frustration with the United States and other NATO countries at what he sees as an inadequate response to Putin’s unwarranted aggression. His calls for the West to help secure a no-fly zone over Ukraine, for example, were dismissed as too risky.

However, as the conflict develops, and Russia escalates its attacks on the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, the Biden administration is ramping up assistance, including the recent decision to provide Increasingly sophisticated weapons systems to assist Ukrainian forces in the face of attack.

Pelosi’s visit is just the latest affirmation of the United States’ commitment to the fight, at least when it comes to amenities and economic assistance, and on Sunday she portrayed the battle as a kind of proxy war pitting the freedoms of Western democracy against the forces of authoritarianism. Putin embodies it.

“We think we’re visiting to say thank you for your freedom struggle,” she told Zelensky.

Joining Pelosi on the trip were several other prominent Democrats: Representative Jim McGovern (Mass.), who heads the Rules Committee; Gregory Meeks (New York), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; and Adam Schiff (CA), Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, who stressed the importance of providing Zelensky’s forces with the latest information gathered from US intelligence agencies.

“The suffering is meaningless, and the entire world is on the brink as Putin continues his assault on Ukraine and democracy,” Schiff said in a statement.

List filled Rep. Barbara Lee (CA), who chairs the Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Foreign Operations; Bill Keating (Mass.), Chair of the European Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs; and Jason Crowe (Colorado), an Army veteran who is also a member of the Intelligence and Armed Services Committees.

Sunday’s visit follows several other high-profile trips to the region by Washington policymakers.

Last week, two senior members of Biden’s cabinet — Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Blinkin — visited Kyiv, where they also met with Zelensky. During the Easter holiday last month, at least three groups of lawmakers Visit The border between Poland and Ukraine, including one led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Democrat) and another by his Republican counterpart, minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Each of these groups includes lawmakers from both parties, unlike Pelosi’s more recent draft, which included only Democrats.

Aside from billions of dollars in funding, Congress has also moved to help Ukraine in other ways. Last week, the House of Representatives sent legislation to Biden that would eliminate some of the bureaucratic red tape surrounding foreign aid, enabling the administration to deliver aid to Kyiv more quickly. Democrats visiting this weekend promised more help, including the $33 billion Biden requested recently.

“[Zelensky] We conveyed the clear need for continued security, economic, and humanitarian assistance from the United States to address the devastating human toll inflicted on the Ukrainian people by Putin’s demonic invasion — and our delegation proudly conveyed the message that additional American support is on the way,” Pelosi and her delegation said in a joint statement.

The group of Democrats is traveling to Poland, where they plan to meet President Andrzej Duda early Monday morning.