Zelensky cancels video address to Senate as vote for more Ukraine funding looms

Zelensky was set to talk with senators via video call.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky terminated his plans on Tuesday to meet virtually with Congress where he was expected to ask for more US funding in military and monetary aid for his country as they fight Russia.

Zelensky was set to talk with senators in via video call, arranged by officials in the Biden administration, The New York Times reports. The Biden  White House has asked Congress to hand over an additionl $61 billion to Ukraine as its war with Russia continues. This would be in addition to the $113 billion already approved for that effort.

“Something happened at the last minute,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said regarding the cancellation. Schumer had emphasized earlier on Tuesday that handing more money over to the Eastern European nation is an "urgent" matter.

“The last time he spoke to us, his message was direct and unsparing: Without more aid from Congress, Ukraine does not have the means to defeat Vladimir Putin,” Schumer said. “Those who think Vladimir Putin will stop merely at Ukraine willfully ignore the clear and unmistakable warnings of history. It is therefore urgent for the Senate to pass a security supplemental.”

Democrats have largely remained steadfast in their support of funding Ukraine, some Republicans who had previously advocated to finance Ukraine have begun to turn over a new leaf.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters on Tuesday, “I hope all of our members vote no." The vote is anticipated for Wednesday.

It was just last year when McConnell said that “Providing assistance for Ukrainians to defeat the Russians is the number one priority for the United States right now, according to most Republicans.” He now states he will stand against further funding in order “to make the point, hopefully for the final time, that we insist on meaningful changes to the border.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson has also said that funding for Ukraine would be pegged to action at the US-Mexico border, across which floods of illegal immigrants have been coming since Biden took office.

This comes as the US is failing to contain a historic surge of illegal immigrants entering the nation since Joe Biden first assumed the White House. Total encounters of illegal crossings were tallied by CBP at 3,201,144 for FY 2023. Increasing numbers of foreigners from countries outside of Mexico and Latin America are being spotted as well, including approximately 168 Chinese men who were caught illegally crossing through the US southern border in Jacumba Hot Springs, California.

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