WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit Washington on Wednesday to meet with President Joe Biden and address a joint session of Congress, the White House confirmed early Tuesday morning.
Sources say the plans are contingent on security and could change at any moment. However, the White House had remained quiet on Biden’s plans for Wednesday in a preview of his schedule for the day before providing an update just after 1 AM ET. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested members attend Wednesday’s session in person in a letter to colleagues.
“We are ending a very special session of the 117th Congress with legislation that makes progress for the American people as well as support for our Democracy,” Pelosi said. “Please be present for a very special focus on Democracy Wednesday night.”
On my way to the US to strengthen resilience and defense capabilities of 🇺🇦. In particular, @POTUS and I will discuss cooperation between 🇺🇦 and 🇺🇸. I will also have a speech at the Congress and a number of bilateral meetings.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) December 21, 2022
In a call with reporters on Tuesday night, an administration official detailed the meeting, which had been planned in detail since Biden spoke with Zelenskyy by phone earlier this month with Biden extending an invitation to Zelenskyy to visit the White House last Wednesday.
The trip is the first outside the country for the Ukrainian President since Russia’s war in Ukraine began.
Biden will welcome Zelenskyy to the White House at 2 PM ET before the two leaders hold a joint press conference at 4:30 PM ET. Zelenskyy will then address a joint session of Congress in the evening.
“President Biden has invited President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to visit Washington D.C. to underscore the United States’ enduring commitment to Ukraine,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “President Biden looks forward to welcoming President Zelenskyy tomorrow, December 21, at the White House.”
The visit comes amid Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine. Republicans have grown critical of providing any further aid to Ukraine once they take control in the new year. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) criticized the visit in a tweet late Tuesday.
“Of course, the shadow president has to come to Congress and explain why he needs billions of American taxpayer dollars for the 51st state, Ukraine,” Greene wrote. “This is absurd. Put America First!!!”