McConnell and some other Republican senators go to Ukraine in secret.
The leader of the minority party in the Senate, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, went to Ukraine on Saturday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky. He led the latest group of American lawmakers to the country as the US gets more involved in helping Kyiv fight the Russian invasion.
The unexpected visit by McConnell and three other Republican senators comes as the Senate works to pass an emergency $40 billion package of military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine. It comes after a string of secret visits by people like the first lady, Jill Biden, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
The trip, which was one of Mr. McConnell's few international trips, shows how much support there is for Ukraine in Washington as the country tries to fight off Russia's invasion, even though there are still questions about the Biden administration's overall approach to the conflict and the extent of American help.
This week, Mr. McConnell said, "Helping Ukraine is not a simple act of kindness. It is directly related to America's national security and vital interests that Russia's naked aggression not succeed, and it comes at a high cost." "There is no doubt that the threat to American and European security will grow if Ukraine can't stop Russian aggression."
Mr. Zelensky's office let people know about the trip. The lawmakers were not yet able to give details.
Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming, who is on his leadership team and is on the Foreign Relations Committee, John Cornyn of Texas, who is on the Intelligence Committee, and Susan Collins of Maine, who is on both the Intelligence Committee and the Appropriations Committee, which is in charge of how the government spends money, were with Mr. McConnell.
On Thursday, the Senate didn't move quickly enough to pass the $40 billion emergency package for Ukraine because one Republican senator, Rand Paul of Kentucky, wouldn't agree to jump over procedural hurdles and vote for the bill without getting a chance to add a proposal to set up an inspector general to watch how the money is spent. The bill should still pass as soon as next week.