Zelensky to address joint session of Congress, Biden weighs Europe trip

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP - File).

The European Union is finalizing further sanctions on Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensyy 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.

Meanwhile, the White House is weighing the possibility of President Joe Biden traveling to Europe in the coming weeks for face-to-face talks with European leaders about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the deliberations.

The prospective trip is yet to be finalized. One possible destination for the meetings would be Brussels, which is the headquarters for NATO, one of the officials said Monday. Another official said the White House was looking at Biden visiting NATO headquarters on March 24, with other potential stops in Europe.

Observers fear that Biden’s hesitant, ambiguous and snail-like pace of decisions (and his frequent about-faces) comes too little, too late, and will only signal weakness to Putin.

All of the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity as none was allowed to comment publicly.

Biden’s potential trip would follow Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to the eastern flank NATO countries of Poland and Romania last week to discuss with leaders there the growing refugee crisis in eastern Europe sparked by the Russian invasion.

The trip would underscore the Biden administration’s support for NATO allies. NBC News first reported that the discussions for a potential Biden trip are underway.

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.”

(World Israel News / AP).

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