Zelensky to address joint session of Congress; Biden will travel to Europe for NATO summit

European Union finalizing further sanctions on Russia.

By Associated Press

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will deliver an address via video to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, Democratic leaders announced.

“The Congress, our country and the world are in awe of the people of Ukraine,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a statement Monday.

Congress recently approved $13.6 billion in emergency military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

“We look forward to the privilege of welcoming President Zelensky’s address to the House and Senate and to convey our support to the people of Ukraine as they bravely defend democracy,” the leaders said.

President Joe Biden will travel to Europe next week for face-to-face talks with European leaders about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Tuesday.

Biden will meet with European leaders at an extraordinary NATO summit in Brussels on March 24. He will also attend a scheduled European Council summit, where efforts to impose sanctions and further humanitarian efforts are underway.

“While he’s there, his goal is to meet in person face-to-face with his European counterparts and talk about, assess where we are at this point in the conflict in the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. We’ve been incredibly aligned to date,” Psaki said. “That doesn’t happen by accident. The president is a big believer in face-to-face diplomacy. So it’s an opportunity to do exactly that.”

The White House announced the president’s travel shortly before Biden on Tuesday signed a bill providing $13.6 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine as part of a $1.5 trillion government spending measure.

The trip follows Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to eastern flank NATO countries of Poland and Romania last week to discuss with leaders the growing refugee crisis in eastern Europe sparked by the Russian invasion and to underscore the Biden administration’s support for NATO allies.

In a separate development, The European Union’s foreign policy chief said the 27-country bloc is finalizing its new round of sanctions against Russia for its “barbaric” invasion of Ukraine.

Josep Borrell said Monday that the fourth package of coercive measures would target Russia’s market access, membership in international financial institutions, and steel and energy sectors.

“We are listing more companies and individuals playing an active role in supporting the people who undermine Ukrainian sovereignty,” Borrell said, after talks in Skopje on Monday with North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski. “This would be another major blow (to the) economic and logistic base upon which the Kremlin is building the invasion.”