Zelensky said he has discussed with the delegation US support for Ukraine and tightening sanctions against Russia.
“I believe that this visit demonstrates once again the strength of the bipartisan support for our state, the strength of the ties between the Ukrainian and American nations,” Zelensky said.
CNN previously reported that Zelensky has asked President Joe Biden to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
The Ukrainian president added in his address on Saturday that he “expressed gratitude for the historic decision to renew the Lend Lease program” during the visit of the GOP delegation.
Biden signed the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act earlier this week. The new law, which relaxes some of the requirements for the US to loan or lease military equipment to Ukraine, was passed by a two-part majority in the US House and Senate. The sponsors said the legislation gives Biden much broader powers to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia and addresses how the US can get weapons to Ukraine more quickly.
Zelensky said on his Instagram account earlier Saturday that the GOP delegation’s visit “was a strong signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine by the US Congress and the American people.”
He added on Instagram: “Thank you for your leadership to help us in our struggle, not only for our country, but also for democratic values and freedoms. We really appreciate it.”
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, John Barrasso of Wyoming and John Cornyn of Texas also met Zelensky in videos and photos posted to the Ukrainian president’s social media accounts.
It was unclear on Saturday evening whether the delegation was still in the Ukrainian capital.
McConnell and the other senators were the last US officials to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded the Eastern European country in late February. Two weeks ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the first congressional delegation to Ukraine since the outbreak of war. Pelosi, accompanied by several senior House Democrats, met with Zelensky in Kiev.
First lady Jill Biden met Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska last weekend in Uzhhorod on the Slovakian border at a converted school that now serves as temporary housing for displaced civilians. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Zelensky in Kiev last month.
Congress has been in the process of passing a roughly $40 billion relief bill that would provide Ukraine with military and humanitarian aid. In a rare show of unity, McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pushed for a swift approval of the bill this week after the House proposed the measure in a bipartisan vote. However, the Senate effort was blocked by GOP Sen on Thursday. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has demanded changes to the law. The Senate is expected to pass the bill sometime next week, forcing Schumer to take procedural steps to address Paul’s objection before it is sent to President Joe Biden’s office.
A statement posted to Zelensky’s official website after the meeting with GOP senators noted that the Ukrainian leader “expressed hopes that the US Senate will immediately approve a package of additional funding to support the Ukrainian people”.
This story has been updated with additional details.