Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, will visit Washington next week following his appearance at the United Nations General Assembly, according to three U.S. officials.
Mr. Zelensky’s plan to appear in person before the General Assembly on Wednesday, as part of the U.N.’s annual gathering in New York City, was previously known. But his follow-on trip to Washington — where he is expected to meet with President Biden at the White House and members of Congress on Capitol Hill — has not yet been announced officially.
It comes as the Biden administration works to shore up support in Congress for an additional $24 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine amid a grinding Ukrainian counteroffensive that has so far yielded disappointing results. Mr. Zelensky insists that Ukraine can still make major gains.
Mr. Zelensky last visited Washington in December, where he addressed Congress and urged the continued supply of American weapons for his country’s battle against Russia, which is about to enter its 19th month. Since then, anxiety has grown among Ukraine’s supporters as they have watched a decline in U.S. public support for continuing aid to the country.
Mr. Zelensky is not expected to make a formal public speech to Congress this time but is expected to hold meetings at the Capitol, including with congressional leaders, according to aides familiar with the plans. Although most lawmakers still support aid for Ukraine, a growing chorus of right-wing Republicans, most of them in the House, has been trying to curtail assistance, and even threatening to block measures to fund the federal government if they include what they call a “blank check” for Ukraine.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who faces a rebellious far-right flank of his party that could cost him his job, has appeared to wobble under the pressure not to replenish the funds, despite previously saying that he backed continued aid for Ukraine. He is considering pushing ahead with a supplemental funding bill that would focus exclusively on domestic matters such as emergency disaster assistance and border security, putting additional funding for Ukraine at risk.
The Biden administration has remained resolute. During a visit to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, last week, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken vowed that the United States would continue to support Ukraine.
Mr. Zelensky’s planned visits come amid reports that the Biden administration may be nearing a decision on sending Ukraine long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems known as ATACMS, which Ukrainian officials say they need to make major advances against Russia. Ukrainian officials have said in recent weeks that they are hopeful that Mr. Biden will approve the weapons.