June 24, 2024

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The US Congress is facing a September 30 deadline to pass budget legislation, including further aid for Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to visit the seat of the United States government in Washington, DC, next week, as he makes the case for ongoing aid to his war-torn country.

Details of the visit started to appear in US media on Thursday afternoon, with anonymous government sources confirming the plans.

Zelenskyy is expected to meet with US President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday, along with a stop at the Capitol.

His appearance will coincide with a debate in Congress over federal spending, as lawmakers face an impending September 30 deadline to pass a budget.

The Biden administration has asked Congress to allocate a total of $24bn for Ukraine support, including $13.1bn in additional military aid and $8.5bn for humanitarian support.

But some politicians, particularly in the Republican Party, have balked at the prospect of sending more money and supplies to Ukraine, as it attempts to repel Russian forces.

Congress has already approved aid totalling over $113bn. But the last time the legislature approved funding for Ukraine was in December — before Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.

Now, with a narrow conservative majority in the lower chamber, far-right politicians hold greater sway over how budget legislation is decided. Just last July, 70 House Republicans, led by Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, backed a proposal to cut off security assistance to Ukraine altogether.

Next week’s appearance at Capitol Hill will be Zelenskyy’s second since the full-scale invasion of his country began in February 2022.

In his first visit, held last December, the Ukrainian president delivered an impassioned speech before Congress, rallying lawmakers against Russian “aggression”.

“It is just a matter of time when they will strike against your other allies if we do not stop them now. We must do it,” Zelenskyy told the US Congress.

“Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”

Zelenskyy has made few trips outside his native Ukraine since the invasion, but he is set to be in the US already next week for the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York.

His presence was, until recently, uncertain, but experts believe he is attempting to generate support for the Ukrainian war effort by meeting with world leaders in person.

Earlier this, Zelenskyy also made surprise visits to the Netherlands and Japan, in a similar effort to drum up backing among global powers.

Ukraine is currently in the midst of a challenging, months-long counteroffensive, as it attempts to claw back territory occupied by Russian forces.

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