Within two weeks of the Ukrainian leader’s virtual meeting with U.S. lawmakers, Zhelensky is set to deliver a rare wartime speech to Congress this morning. It is widely expected that the Biden administration will use Wednesday’s address – as well as his speeches to other allied governments – to make another urgent appeal to the United States for additional assistance, including some forms of military aid that have already been released. Against.
Lawmakers and aides on Capitol Hill told CNN that they expect the next big round of discussions in Washington on how to best assist Ukraine’s struggle against Russia, depending on exactly what Zelensky is asking when he speaks to Congress. The talk comes as some in Capitol Hill are losing patience with the pace of administration – for now – because Zelensky does not want to go as far as delivering fighter jets and imposing a no-fly zone within the country. Those two things may have been among the questions asked by the Ukrainian leader in Wednesday’s speech, but the administration has rejected them because of concerns about how Putin will explain those moves.
According to an official, Biden is expected to announce an additional $ 800 million in security assistance – a total of $ 1 billion announced last week and $ 2 billion from the start of the Biden administration.
While the US government has largely responded to the war with Ukraine’s bipartisan support, some lawmakers have begun to lose patience – including high-ranking Republicans – who have so far been wary of criticizing the administration’s response. Fiden and his administration did not respond as quickly as some in Congress wanted, because the president aimed to unite the American allies in response to the crisis.
“Everything that Congress asked to do, (the administration) said no at first. Then, after our allies did it, they say yes,” said Sen, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s top Republican party. Said Jim Rish. “It’s slow, it’s very painful.”
“We’m going to ask Gelensky. So, depending on what we ask, we’ll see what the White House does next,” Democrat Josh Godimer said. Many lawmakers argued that warplanes and other military equipment should be sent to Ukrainian forces. “In areas where we believe we have to push hard – and where we hear from home that we’ll push hard – we’re going to expose it to the White House.”
When a chief executive of a member of the House asked his employer what issue he should present publicly next, he bluntly said: “(Zhelensky’s) will create a lot for Congress.”
The President of Ukraine is about to come to a virtual center position in the Capitol
Members said he did not expect Zhelensky’s words about the help he needed for his country.
“I doubt he will appreciate what we did,” said the Ohio Republican Senate. Rob Portman predicted what he would expect from Gelensky’s speech: “He’s going to tell them directly what they need now and that this is a moment. True.”
A White House official at the time said he would reject any suggestion that congressional pressure had pushed the White House into action, and that the administration’s decision-making process on Ukraine’s aid had given priority to consultation with its European allies.
The question of whether – and how – Soviet-era warplanes could be sent to Ukraine has been a particularly thorny debate. Last week, the White House referred to a “temporary breakdown in communications” and the Polish government proposed sending jets to the U.S. Air Force base in Germany, and those planes should be flown to Ukraine. The idea was immediately rejected by US authorities. Logistics challenges – the risk of a direct US-Russia confrontation – were too high, the administration warned.
But in the days when it was rejected, Democrat and Republican lawmakers, along with other military equipment such as air defense organizations, have called on the administration to provide such warplanes to Ukraine.
Legislators in Capitol Hill, including its worst members, are largely in agreement, although West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Munch recently said he did not want to take the option off the table.
The White House faces tough next-stage measures
A few hours after Zhelensky addressed Congress, Biden is due to deliver his own speech describing US aid to Ukraine. The two presidents have spoken regularly in recent weeks and White House officials have been in daily contact with Zhelensky’s staff, a level of coordination that leads the White House to believe that they will not be surprised by anything in the Ukrainian president’s speech on Wednesday.
At a White House press conference on Tuesday, Psaki praised Zhelenzky’s interest, “courage” and “courage” in helping Ukraine accelerate “historic military and defense assistance and weapons.” Has come from Congress.
“Yes, we recognize that there are bilateral calls,” Zaki said. “But the responsibility we have to do here is to assess what impact it has on the United States and our own national security.”
When lawmakers call on the White House to weigh some options when it comes to helping Ukraine, they say they are sending home what they have heard from their constituents.
No. 2 Sen. Democrat Illinois Democrat Sen. Dick Turbin said he was “sure” of Biden’s decision not to send fighter jets to Ukraine. Still, when he returned to Chicago over the weekend, Durbin heard that many of his members were concerned about the lack of fighter jets provided to Ukraine.
“This is a stumbling block. This is a classic dilemma. We want to provide Ukraine with the equipment it needs to survive. We do not want to push Putin into a third world war or a nuclear conflict,” Durbin told CNN. “Only the President can make this decision, and he must be cautious. I can make one-sided arguments.”
A personal moment for many lawmakers
“As members of Congress, we are very close to the American people. House Armed Services Committee. “People want to see what we do more. They seem to understand that this is a good and evil moment and a safe moment for democracy.”
The administration’s options in assisting Ukraine are “active and cautious,” and Murphy said the next round of discussions on military aid to Ukraine should be handled with care.
“We are coming to a point where we have exhausted the easy answers,” he said. “The good thing is that Zhelensky comes before Congress and asks a lot of things – he wants to.”
The Ukrainian leader’s speech will be even more so for some lawmakers who have had personal relationships with Zhelensky over the past few years. He has personally met with U.S. lawmakers in the past, made calls with senators and spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week.
“Three weeks after this attack on one of the largest nations, Congress generally appreciates that he can still go somewhere and hold a virtual meeting with the U.S. Congress,” said a Missouri Republican senator. Roy Blunt said.
The story was updated with an additional statement on Tuesday.
CNN’s Caitlin Collins, Manu Raju and Kevin Liptack contributed to the report.