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Zelensky meets bipartisan US Congress delegation, calls to pass Ukraine aid bill

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 6, 2024 6:55 PM 3 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky (left) meets a bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members in Chernihiv Oblast, Ukraine, on April 5, 2024. (Presidential Office)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky met with a bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members in Chernihiv Oblast and called to pass Ukraine aid bill as soon as possible, the Presidential Office reported on April 6.

U.S. aid to Ukraine has been delayed since the fall of 2023 amid infighting in Congress. In February, a $95 billion aid package to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan passed in the Senate with bipartisan support, but House Speaker Mike Johnson has so far stalled on bringing it to a vote in the Republican-led House.

Zelensky met with members of the U.S. Congress during his working trip to Chernihiv Oblast, which commemorated the two-year anniversary of the region's liberation from Russian occupation, according to the Presidential Office.

The delegation included Republicans Joni Ernst, Ashley Hinson, and Chuck Edwards and Democrats Wiley Nickel, Tom Suozzi, and Michael Quigley.

"I am grateful for the visit of a representative bipartisan and bicameral delegation to Chernihiv Oblast, which is a powerful signal of support for all Ukrainians," Zelensky said at the meeting.

"It is very important that in the village of Yahidne, you saw with your own eyes the terrible consequences of Russian aggression."

During the Russian occupation of Yahidne, 367 residents, the majority of the village's population, were kept in a basement for 27 days by the Russians, where 50 children were among the hostages and 11 people died.

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Zelensky briefed the delegation on the current situation on the front lines, the urgent needs of Ukrainian defenders, and the scale of Russia's deportations of Ukrainian children.

The president thanked the U.S. government for its support of Ukraine, particularly for its key role in establishing the legal framework for the use of frozen Russian assets to aid Ukraine and assisting Ukraine's arms production industry.

At the meeting, Zelensky emphasized it's "vital" for Ukraine that the U.S. Congress approve the Ukraine aid package "as soon as possible," in line with his previous statement that Ukraine's military could soon be forced to retreat further if U.S. defense assistance continues to be delayed.

In an interview with the Washington Post published March 29, Zelensky said his military has been unable to plan counteroffensive operations as they do not know if they'll have the weapons required to conduct one.

After an unsuccessful counteroffensive last year, Russian forces now hold a theater-wide initiative that Ukraine is finding increasingly difficult to contain, largely due to a lack of ammunition.

This was starkly illustrated in February when Russia took Avdiivka, forcing Ukrainian troops to retreat from the town and accelerate the building of defensive lines further back on Ukrainian territory.

Opinion: As an American in Avdiivka, what is Congress doing?
I am an American military veteran, callsign “Jackie,” and I am writing from Donbas in Ukraine. I am originally from Orange County, California. I served in the U.S. military for eight years, stationed in Colorado, South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. I also worked as a contractor at the
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