Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will meet with President Joe Biden and deliver an address to members of Congress during a visit to Washington on Wednesday, Zelenskyy and a senior administration official said.
In a call with reporters Tuesday night, the administration official detailed a program scheduled for Zelenskyy at the White House that was expected to include an extended sitdown with Biden and meetings with key members of his national security team and Cabinet.
The official said Zelenskyy will also travel to Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are expected to be voting on a massive funding bill that includes roughly $44.9 billion in Ukraine aid. He is expected to cap off the day with a formal speech to a joint session of Congress, the official said.
Zelenskyy in a tweet early Wednesday said he was traveling to the U.S. “to strengthen resilience and defense capabilities” of Ukraine.
Biden and Zelenskyy had been discussing details of the visit for more than a week, with Biden extending an invitation to Zelenskyy to visit the White House last Wednesday, the official said. The visit, believed to be Zelenskyy’s first known trip outside Ukraine since the war broke out in February, was formally confirmed Sunday.
The administration official described the visit as a chance to provide an “important injection of momentum and sustenance” to U.S. and allied support of Ukraine as its war with Russia rages on.
The visit will also coincide with Biden’s announcing a new package of nearly $2 billion of security assistance for Ukraine that will include a Patriot missile battery, the administration official said, adding that U.S. forces would be training Ukrainian forces on how to operate the Patriot missile battery in a third country.
The administration official said the visit would allow Zelenskyy to address Americans and “thank the American people for the incredible support that they’ve received, and thank both parties,” for the bipartisan support that Ukraine has received.
NBC News previously reported on the anticipated visit, which comes as Congress appeared poised Tuesday to approve additional aid to reinforce Ukraine’s efforts in the Russia conflict, which has stretched nearly 10 months.
Some Republicans have grown increasingly critical of Ukraine aid, some of them threatening that they won’t continue backing additional support as their party prepares to control the House in January.