Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday said Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) should visit Ukraine as the GOP is divided about how much the United States should be helping the Eastern European country defend itself against Russia.
Zelensky told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview that McCarthy needs to observe what is happening in the country to become better informed about U.S. aid to Ukraine. He said McCarthy has not visited Ukraine yet, and doing so would help him with “his position.”
“Mr. McCarthy, he has to come here to see how we work, what’s happening here, what war caused us, which people are fighting now, who are fighting now. And then after that, make your assumptions,” he said.
CNN reported that McCarthy said in response to Zelensky’s comments that he does not plan to visit Ukraine. He said he supports helping Ukrainians defend their country, but he does not support providing them “blank checks.”
McCarthy said he will continue to receive briefings on the situation, but he does not have to go to Ukraine to see the situation.
Numerous members of the U.S. government have visited Ukraine and met with Zelensky since the war began a year ago, most recently President Biden coming to the capital Kyiv to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s initial full-scale invasion.
Zelensky said Democrats and Republicans coming to Ukraine has allowed them to see “every shell, every bullet, every dollar” that Ukraine is using.
Members of the House and Senate from both parties have also visited Ukraine at various times.
But some House Republicans like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Matt Gaetz (Fla.) have been vocal in expressing their opposition to continued support for Ukraine.
Greene said at the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend that the U.S. should be pushing for peace in the conflict, while Gaetz said he opposes taxpayers needing to “foot the bill” for the aid that the U.S. is sending.
Zelensky told CNN that the largely bipartisan backing that has continued for Ukraine is “very important,” and some Republican representatives he recently met with told him that they want to support the country just as the Democrats do.
“We don’t care about the side of the support as long as it’s powerful and constant,” he said.