Zelenskyy will meet Biden at the White House amid increased pressure on Congress to approve more aid

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and Ukraine's leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy will meet at the White House on Tuesday as the US administration steps up pressure on Congress to provide billions more in aid to Kiev in its war with Russia.

The visit is intended “to underscore the United States' unwavering commitment to supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia's brutal invasion,” the White House said in a statement on Sunday. “As Russia increases its missile and drone attacks on Ukraine, the leaders will discuss Ukraine's urgent needs and the critical importance of continued support from the United States at this critical time.”

Zelenskyy's office confirmed he had accepted Biden's invitation. He has also been asked to speak before a meeting of all senators.

Biden has asked Congress for a $110 billion package in war funding for Ukraine ($61.4 billion) and Israel, along with other national security priorities. But the request is mired in a debate over U.S. immigration policy and border security.

Zelenskyy traveled to Buenos Aires on Sunday to witness the swearing-in of Argentina's new president, Javier Milei. The Ukrainian leader was scheduled to address U.S. senators by video last week but had to cancel his appearance, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said.

Congress has already allocated $111 billion to help Ukraine, and Biden's budget director, Shalanda Young, said in a letter to House and Senate leaders this past week that the U.S. would run out of money by the end of the month will have to send weapons and aid to Ukraine. years, which would make Ukraine “kneel” on the battlefield.

“It's time to make a deal that both sides can agree to,” Young said Sunday.

The stakes are especially high for Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during two television interviews on Sunday, as “we are running out of funding” for the Ukrainians. “This is a time to really step up, because if we don't, we know what happens. (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will be able to continue with impunity and we know he will not stop in Ukraine.”

He previously defended the emergency sale to Israel of nearly 14,000 tank munitions and also called for quick congressional approval of the foreign aid. Blinken said the needs of Israeli military operations in Gaza justify the rare decision to bypass Congress. “Israel is currently fighting Hamas,” he said. “And we want to make sure that Israel gets everything it needs to defend itself against Hamas.”

The tank munitions and related support make up only a small portion of military sales to Israel, Blinken said, and the remainder remains subject to congressional review. “It's very important that Congress's voice is heard on this,” he said.

The decision to go ahead with the sale of more than $106 million for tank shells came as the government's larger aid package was mired in a wider immigration debate.

Blinken noted that Biden has said he is willing to make significant compromises to get the relief package moving. “It's something the president is fully prepared for,” Blinken said.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said there is bipartisan agreement that something must be done to address the record number of migrants entering the United States from Mexico.

“We want to solve that, to secure the border. I just saw the President of the United States say we need to secure the border. He is right. So any effort that doesn't do that will be rejected by Republicans,” Romney said.

Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, said the administration has yet to justify additional aid to Ukraine. “So what we are saying to the president and actually to the whole world is that you have to articulate what the ambition is. What is $61 billion going to accomplish that $100 billion hasn't?” Vans said.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said the money would make a difference as Russia struggles to finance its war effort. “It could change the outcome of this war,” Murphy said. “Because at the same time that we are recommitting to Ukraine, Russia's ability to continue fighting this war is at risk.”

Romney said he also supports aid to Ukraine. “My own view is that it is very much in America's interest to see Ukraine succeed and provide the weapons that Ukraine needs to defend itself. Anything other than that, I think, would be a huge violation of our responsibility to the world of democracy, but also to our own national interest,” he said.

Blinken appeared on ABC's “This Week” and CNN's “State of the Union.” Romney and Murphy were featured on NBC's “Meet the Press.” Vance was on CNN. Young appeared on CBS' “Face the Nation.”