President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are planning to meet at the White House on Wednesday, according to two sources familiar with the planning underway, in what would be a surprise visit that could change based on security concerns.
The visit, which hasn’t been finalized and has remained tightly held due to security concerns, will coincide with the administration’s intent to send the country a new defense assistance package that will include Patriot missile systems. It would mark Zelensky’s first trip outside Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in February of this year. His potential visit to Washington could also include an address to Congress.
The White House declined to comment on a potential visit or Biden announcement or new security assistance announcements. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t confirm reports Zelensky would be coming to the Capitol on Wednesday, saying, “I don’t know that that’s going to happen.”
“We don’t know yet. We just don’t know,” she said.
When asked by CNN if the invitation had been made to him, she said: “No. Not until we know if he can come.”
A visit by the Ukrainian leader to Washington would amount to a significant moment 10 months since Russia’s war in Ukraine began. Zelensky has emerged as an international personification of Ukrainian resistance to the invasion and has spent much of the year asking nations for support.
He’s delivered those appeals virtually, beaming into international summits and global legislatures to make his case for more weapons and funding. He has remained inside his country for the duration of the war, a reflection both of his desire to rally his besieged country and the precarious security situation he would face outside Ukraine.