(NEW YORK) — Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s surprise visit to Kyiv is “yet another sign of a very very strong support that Ukraine has in the United States,” calling it “symbolic” and “a special delight” to see her meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Overnight, Pelosi led a surprise congressional delegation to Kyiv and met Zelenskyy after Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with the Ukrainian leader last week.
“We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom,” Pelosi said in a video posted by Zelenskyy on Twitter early Sunday morning.
The trip comes just days after President Joe Biden announced his request for Congress to approve a $33 billion in supplemental aid to Ukraine.
“There appears to be support for that $33 billion aid package. What more do you need?” ABC “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos asked the ambassador.
“We need all the assistance we can get in defensive weapons, in military support, in financial support, but also in humanitarian support. And I think this request covers all of these areas,” she said.
“We feel and we know that Americans are our brothers and sisters in this fight for freedom for democracy and as we are about to review here in the United States the next package of support to Ukraine, which President Biden submitted recently to Congress, I believe it’s very symbolic that Speaker Pelosi visited Ukraine,” she added.
The president’s aid request has received some bipartisan support. Speaking to Stephanopoulos on Sunday morning, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said he expects Congress to approve it quickly but expressed disappointment that the legislature is not in session and can’t move more quickly.
“If I were speaker for a day, I’d call Congress back into session, back into work as we’re not — we won’t be in session next week. But every day we don’t send them more weapons is a day where more people will be killed and a day where they could lose this war,” he said.
Russian leaders have been ramping up the rhetoric and nuclear threats in recent days as Russian President Vladimir Putin has intensified his military’s attacks in the southern and eastern regions.
When pressed by Stephanopoulos on whether Putin has turned the tide in the war, Markarova said Russia has yet to fulfill “any of the objectives that they have declared.”
“They are trying to scare Ukrainians, they are trying to scare the world, but the fact and the truth is that Ukrainians are not afraid and our president and all Ukrainians are bravely defending our country — and the world is not afraid,” she said.
Stephanopoulos continued: “We’re now on the third month of this war. When this begun, did you believe it’d go on this long?”
“Well, you know, this attack from Russia, our country experienced for the past 400 years,” Markarova said. “Sometimes, it was full fledge wars like now. Sometimes it was occupations and oppressions. So, this is not something unfamiliar to us. But I think it has been an eye-opening two months for the world.”
“So, of course, we are trying and we are doing everything possible on the battlefield but also on the diplomatic front to stop this war as soon as possible,” she added, “But as this war was started by Russians, it has to be ended by Russians. And we really hope that they will make their decision faster.”
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