Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will deliver a virtual address to the U.S. Congress as the Russian war on his country intensifies.
Zelenskyy will speak Wednesday to members of the House and Senate, the Democratic leaders announced. The event will be livestreamed for the public.
“It’s such a privilege to have this leader of this country, where these people are fighting for their democracy and our democracy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday during an event at the Brooklyn Bridge with New York lawmakers.
Pelosi said that Zelenskyy asked for the meeting when they spoke at the end of last week, and lawmakers are “thrilled” to have him address Congress.
The talk comes as the Ukrainians are fighting for their country’s survival in the escalating war as Russian President Vladimir Putin intensifies his assault, including airstrikes on the capital Kyiv. Civilians in Ukraine are taking up arms to hold back Putin’s regime, but the war has launched a mass exodus of more than 2.5 million people from Ukraine.
“The Congress, our country and the world are in awe of the people of Ukraine,” said Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a statement Monday announcing the address.
They said all lawmakers are invited to the talk that will be delivered via video at the U.S. Capitol. It comes as Congress recently approved $13.6 billion in emergency military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
Biden is expected to sign a big spending bill containing Ukraine aid into law on Tuesday. During Pelosi’s call last week, Zelenskyy said his country would need help rebuilding from the war.
“We have to do more in terms of meeting the needs of some of the 2.7 million refugees,” she said.
She said of the Ukrainians: “They’re fighting for democracy writ large.”
In their statement Monday, the congressional leaders said Congress “remains unwavering in our commitment to supporting Ukraine as they face Putin’s cruel and diabolical aggression.”
Pelosi and Schumer said they intend “to convey our support to the people of Ukraine as they bravely defend democracy.”
Zelenskyy spoke by video with House and Senate lawmakers earlier this month, delivering a desperate plea for more military aid.