Lindsey Graham Is In Ukraine To Meet Again With Zelensky

This week, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) travelled to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky again as further foreign aid funding to the war-torn country remains in limbo amid divisions in Congress...

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he Ukrainian president hosted Graham ay the presidential compound in Kyiv, where the two discussed further aid for Ukraine, the Ukrainian army’s needs and the Eastern European nation’s eventual membership into NATO, the Ukrainian leader wrote in a post on X.

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Graham’s visit comes just weeks after he voted against a $95 billion defense and foreign aid package in the Senate. The bill included $60 billion for Ukraine, including $19.85 billion to restock U.S. military weapons provided from the Pentagon’s inventory and $13.8 billion to allow Ukraine to buy weapons and munitions from U.S. munition manufacturers.

In February, the Senate voted down a bill that would have included funding for Ukraine and the border. Graham, who has long touted his support for Ukraine, was among the Republicans who voted against the legislation.

Graham has never said he opposed aid for Ukraine. In a statement about the failed legislation, he said he believed it fell short of properly addressing the rise in migrant arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border, noting that it still had “many positive aspects.”

In that statement, he reiterated his support for passing legislation that would give aid to Ukraine and other U.S. allies.

The South Carolina Republican is one of the most outspoken GOP advocates for supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia, which surprised and frustrated lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who believed he would help muster up GOP support for the bill.

Defending his vote last month, Graham pointed to his concerns about the border. Zelensky reiterated his plea to the U.S. on Monday to continue sending aid in support of Ukraine. Zelensky wrote on X, adding later:

“It is critical that our partners continue to provide military and technical assistance, such as air defense systems and missiles. The continued support of Ukraine by international partners, particularly the United States, is now more important than ever in implementing plans to de-occupy our territories and protect our people.”

In a video of Zelensky’s remarks, the president told Graham he is thankful for Congress and the Biden Administration’s support over the past two years; and he asked the lawmaker what he thinks about future support for the nation.

In the short clip of the beginning of the meeting, Graham offered a stark prediction for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Putin will go down in history the way all people like Putin go down in history, it’s just a matter of time,” he said.

In a statement later shared, Graham said he had a “productive visit” with Zelensky about the state and future of the war. He said he is calling on the Biden Administration to send longer-range artillery, accelerate F-16 training for Ukrainians and designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.

Graham wrote:

“I have been saying for months that helping Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan are extremely important national security imperatives for the United States. The Ukrainians have fought like tigers, but they need more assistance. Over time they will continue to deal blows to Russia. Pulling the plug on Ukraine only invites further aggression in other areas of the world, particularly from China.”

Increasing division among lawmakers has stalled aid for the Eastern European nation. Congress has not passed a funding bill for Ukraine since the end of 2022, when a Democrat majority passed its fourth aid package for the country.

The $95 billion supplemental still passed in the upper chamber in a 70-29 vote after 22 Republicans joined the majority of Senate Democrats to pass the package.

The bill was sent to the House, where Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) insisted on not bringing it to the floor as it lacks the border security measures insisted upon by House GOP members.

Johnson is instead offering up an alternative plan and told Republican senators last week he plans to send them legislation that includes new military funding for Kyiv after the House considers a separate spending package to prevent a government shutdown this Friday.

He noted that this will look significantly different from the Senate’s $95 billion package and floated the idea of making the House’s foreign aid package a loan or lend-lease program to relieve some of the burden on U.S. taxpayers.

Graham expressed his support for turning foreign aid into a loan during Monday’s meeting. He wrote:

During my meeting with President Zelensky, I informed him that given the crisis at the United States’ southern border and our overwhelming debt, President Trump’s idea of turning aid from the United States into a no-interest, waivable loan is the most likely path forward. This is not only true for aid for Ukraine, but for other countries across the board. I reiterated that the House’s Ukraine aid legislation must include some American border security provisions.”

The plan, however, has raised several questions about exactly how Johnson intends to get both funding for Kyiv and the stricter border security measures into one package and how he will shore up Democrat support if he strays too far from the Senate-passed foreign aid package. ✪

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