(Bloomberg) — Top US Senate leaders will host an all-members meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday, according to a Senate leadership aide, as House Republicans are preparing to block a Biden administration request for another $24 billion in Ukraine assistance.
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Zelenskiy is expected to meet President Joe Biden at the White House the same day, traveling to Washington after attending the United Nations General Assembly. He’s expected to seek renewed commitments by US leaders to help Ukraine’s fight to regain occupied land from Russia.
Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are due to host the meeting on Capitol Hill.
Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline for the end of the fiscal year. Conservative hard-liners in the House have threatened to shut down the government if a budget deal includes additional aid to Ukraine.
Four top Senate Republicans urged Biden in a letter on Saturday to provide Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles. The letter rejects the argument by some conservatives that the aid dips too far into the US weapon supply, saying only a small part of US stockpiles would be needed.
Zelenskiy renewed his requests for additional weaponry in an interview with CBS News’ 60 Minutes broadcast Sunday evening.
“And if Ukraine had enough of these modern systems, we would have already restored the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” he said, according to a CBS transcript. “We would have already done that. These systems exist.”
Zelenskiy’s trip will be his first to Washington in more than six months.
(Updates with Zelenskiy comments to CBS in seventh paragraph.)
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