Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is preparing to visit Washington on Wednesday, according to three AP sources, in his first known trip outside the country since Russia’s invasion began in February.
Two congressional sources and one person familiar with the matter confirmed plans for the visit. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the highly sensitive nature of the trip. They said Zelensky’s visit, while expected, could still be called off at the last minute due to security concerns.
The visit to Washington is set to include an address to Congress on Capitol Hill and a meeting with President Joe Biden. It comes as lawmakers are set to vote on a year-end spending package that includes about $45 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine and as the U.S. prepares to send Patriot surface-to-air missiles to the country to help stave off Russia’s invasion.
The visit comes a day after Zelensky made a daring and dangerous trip to what he called the hottest spot on the 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) front line, the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s contested Donetsk province, where he praised Ukrainian troops for their “courage, resilience and strength” as artillery boomed in the background.