Richmond Times-Dispatch: Spanberger in Ukraine with U.S. House delegation, meets Zelenskyy

RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, MICHAEL MARTZ

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, arrived in Ukraine on Friday morning as part of a five-member congressional delegation to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy amid concern that Congress will not approve additional military aid for the country to defend itself from a Russian invasion launched two years ago.

Spanberger, a Henrico County resident and a member of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee, has criticized Republican opposition that killed a proposed $118 billion aid package in the U.S. Senate this week that would have included $60 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine. The Senate is now considering a $95 billion package in aid for Ukraine, Israel, Gaza and priorities in the Indo-Pacific region.

Members held a news conference in Kyiv to show support for Ukraine.

“To the Ukrainian people, thank you for welcoming us on this trip,” Spanberger said during the news conference, according to a transcript her office provided. “As my colleagues have stated, the purpose and the goal of this trip is to ensure that our Ukrainian partners recognize the commitment that the American people — and certainly the American Congress — will continue to have in supporting Ukraine in its fight for freedom.

“It is consistent with who the American people are. It is consistent with our democratic values to recognize the extraordinary strength, the extraordinary might, the extraordinary grit of the Ukrainian people as they have worked tirelessly to defend their own freedom and their own country.”

According to a report by Reuters, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said, “The United States is working diligently in the House of Representatives and the Senate to secure the funding that is necessary in 2024.”

Conservative Republicans in the House and the Senate oppose additional military aid to Ukraine, as does former President Donald Trump, who is likely the GOP presidential candidate in a rematch with President Joe Biden in November.

The delegation includes four members of the House Intelligence Committee — Spanberger, Turner, Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., and Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo. — and Rep. Zach Nunn, R-Iowa. The members of the intelligence committee also met with Ukrainian intelligence services, Reuters reported.

“We stand with Ukraine not just because we understand that defending freedom and democracy around the world is an American value, but we stand with Ukraine because it’s also in America’s interests to do so,” said Crow, a former U.S. Army Ranger and a recipient of the Bronze Star for his conduct in combat in Iraq.

Spanberger is not seeking reelection to her congressional seat and will run for governor next year.

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