(JustPatriots.com)- On Saturday, a small delegation of Republican senators led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell traveled to Kyiv and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and GOP senators met Ukrainian President Zelenskyy in the capital city of Kyiv in a show of support for the war-torn country. https://t.co/LRWF41k5mi pic.twitter.com/b9UOm339eR
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 14, 2022
In addition to McConnell, the group included Maine Senator Susan Collins, John Cornyn of Texas, and Wyoming Senator John Barrasso.
McConnell said the Republicans went to Kyiv to reaffirm to Zelensky that the United States “stands squarely behind Ukraine” and will continue to support the country “until Ukraine wins this war.”
The Kentucky Republican said it was also “essential” that the United States not be alone in standing behind Ukraine, saying that US allies and partners “must continue to step up and do their part.” He added that defending Ukraine’s sovereignty has a direct impact on US national security.
After meeting with the Republican delegation, President Zelensky boasted that the visit shows the strength of US/Ukraine ties. He said he thanked the senators for “the historic decision to renew the Lend-Lease program” and said he asked that Russia be officially recognized by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism.
McConnell told reporters on Sunday that he is on board with a Congressional vote naming Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, saying “I think it’s a good idea.” He also affirmed his support for Sweden and Finland being admitted into NATO, saying the United States “ought to be first in line” in ratifying that treaty.
McConnell’s visit to Ukraine came just days after his Kentucky colleague Senator Rand Paul blocked the fast-tracked unanimous consent vote for the current $40 billion aid package for Ukraine that passed the House last week.
Senator Paul had wanted to include language expanding the role of the Afghanistan inspector general to have oversight of Ukrainian assistance spending, a perfectly reasonable request. However, the Democrats and McConnell opposed the move.
But Senator Paul’s opposition only delayed the inevitable.
On Monday, the Senate voted 81 to 11 to advance the $40 billion aid package with zero federal oversight.
The eleven Republicans who joined Senator Paul in voting against advancing the bill were Marsha Blackburn (TN), John Boozman (AR), Mike Braun (IN), Mike Crapo (ID), Bill Hagerty (TN), Josh Hawley (MO), Mike Lee (UT) Cynthia Lummis (WY), Roger Marshall (KS), and Tommy Tuberville (AL).
The final vote on the aid package is expected to happen on Wednesday.