Ukrainian ambassador to attend Biden’s State of the Union

Biden spoke by phone with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine on Tuesday for just over 30 minutes.

“The American leadership on anti-Russian sanctions and defense assistance to Ukraine was discussed,” Zelenskyy posted on Twitter after the call. “We must stop the aggressor as soon as possible. Thank you for your support!”

All members of Congress are invited to view the State of the Union in person, unlike last year’s joint address to Congress, when attendance was capped at 200 as a precaution during the pandemic. Additional guest attendance this year will be limited, although other Covid guidelines, like mandatory mask-wearing, have been relaxed.

Guests seated with the first lady will include second gentleman Douglas Emhoff and the president’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens. Other guests were selected because “they represent policies or themes to be addressed by the President in his speech,” the White House announced.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who criticized tech corporations for putting profits before the safety of their users, will attend. So will Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, and Joshua Davis, a 13-year-old diabetes advocate who introduced the president last month at a Northern Virginia event about lowering prescription drug costs.

Invitations to other guests suggest the president will address a number of his first-year legislative priorities, including infrastructure, health care, mental health services, universal child care and veterans benefits.

The White House has not announced any guests beyond the first lady’s invitees, but The Washington Post reports that six of the nine Supreme Court justices will attend, as will about 20 Cabinet officials.



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