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Media: US presidential candidate Mike Pence makes surprise visit to Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek June 29, 2023 7:27 PM 2 min read
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks at the Faith and Freedom Road to Majority conference at the Washington Hilton on June 23, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Former U.S. vice president and Republican presidential candidate Mike Pence met Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in an announced visit to Kyiv on June 29, NBC News reported.

The former second-in-command of Donald Trump is the first Republican presidential candidate to visit Ukraine during the election campaign.

"I believe America's the leader of the free world," Pence told NBC News.

"But coming here just as a private citizen — being able to really see firsthand the heroism of the Ukrainian soldiers... steels my resolve to do my part, to continue to call for strong American support for our Ukrainian friends and allies."

"(Pence) understands absolutely clearly what Russia is," NBC News cited Mykhailo Podoliak, an advisor to Ukraine’s Presidential Office.

"He deeply understands Russia and deeply understands the nature of this conflict, that it is not about territories, not about any businesses, not about anything except the main thing … those values for which the United States were created," Podoliak said.

Pence reportedly visited Kyiv, Bucha, and Irpin and met families and children impacted by the war.

The former vice president belongs to the wing of the Republican party that supports further aid for Ukraine and has criticized his former boss for praising Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

His potential Democrat Party competitor in the upcoming 2024 election, the sitting President Joe Biden, visited Kyiv on Feb. 20.

Some of the Republican front-runners for the presidential office, such as Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis, have criticized the Biden administration for devoting too much attention and resources to Ukraine.

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“Every generation has a moment where they have had to stand up for democracy. To stand up for their fundamental freedoms. I believe this is ours,” U.S. President Joe Biden tweeted on April 25, making “Let’s finish the job” his bid’s slogan.

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