KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has led a congressional delegation to Kyiv to meet with Ukraine’s president before heading to Poland for talks with officials there on Sunday.
Pelosi, a California Democrat who is second in line to the presidency after the vice president, is the most senior American lawmaker to visit Ukraine since Russia’s war began more than two months ago. Her visit to Kyiv on Saturday marks a major show of continuing support for the country’s struggle against Moscow.
“Our delegation traveled to Kyiv to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine,” Pelosi said in a statement released Sunday.
Footage released by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office showed Pelosi and other U.S. legislators in Kyiv. In video later released by Pelosi’s office, the speaker and Zelenskyy both thanked each other for their support in the war.
“We’ll win and we’ll win together,” Zelenskyy said.
Pelosi added: “We are here until victory is won.”
The full congressional delegation included Democratic Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Adam Schiff, of California who chairs the House Intelligence Committee; Jim McGovern of Massachusetts who chairs the House Rules Committee; Jason Crow of Colorado; Barbara Lee of California; and Bill Keating of Massachusetts.
“You all are welcome,” Zelenskyy told the delegation.
Pelosi told Zelenskyy: “We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom.”
“We are on a frontier of freedom and your fight is a fight for everyone. Our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done,” Pelosi added.
The visit wasn’t previously announced.
The delegation continued its trip in southeast Poland, and Pelosi said they would later visit the capital, Warsaw, to meet with President Andrzej Duda and other senior officials. Poland has received more than 3 million refugees from Ukraine since Russia launched its war on Feb. 24.
“We look forward to thanking our Polish allies for their dedication and humanitarian efforts,” she said.
In a news conference in Poland, Pelosi said she and others in the delegation applauded the courage of the Ukrainian people. She added that the delegation brought Zelenskyy “a message of appreciation from the American people for his leadership.”
Schiff said the U.S. lawmakers had a three-hour meeting with Zelenskyy and his administration, talking about sanctions, weapons and aid assistance. Schiff promised that intelligence sharing would continue between Ukraine and the U.S.
“This is a struggle of freedom against tyranny,” Schiff said. “And in that struggle, Ukraine is on the front lines.”
McGovern said Russia’s war had repercussions far beyond Ukraine, saying it was exacerbating a food crisis that would be disastrous for poor people across the globe.
“Putin’s brutal war is no longer only a war against the people of Ukraine,” McGovern said. “It’s also a war against the world’s most vulnerable.”
He added that Ukraine is a “breadbasket of the world.”
“I don’t think that Putin cares if he starves the world,” McGovern said.
A previous version of this story was corrected to show that Pelosi is second in line to the presidency, not third.
More AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine