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Schumer leads congressional delegation to Ukraine to mark 2-year anniversary of Russian invasion

By Colin McCullough and Shania Shelton, CNN

(CNN) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is in Ukraine to reiterate US support for the country and ratchet up pressure on House Republicans back home to pass a foreign aid bill that includes further assistance for Ukraine and Israel.

Four other Democratic senators, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, traveled with Schumer as part of a congressional delegation to mark the two-year anniversary of the Russian invasion and to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to a statement from his office.

The visit comes as House Republicans are holding still a foreign aid package that would send further aid to Ukraine and Israel. The $95.3 billion foreign aid bill, which was passed by the Senate last week, faces a showdown in the House as Speaker Mike Johnson has told his House Republican Conference members that he is not rushing to respond to the bill.

Schumer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Friday that during his visit, Zelensky told him that Ukraine will win its war against Russia if Congress passes further aid to the country.

“He said if we get the aid, if Ukraine gets the aid and we vote for the supplemental package, they will win the war, “ Schumer said on “The Situation Room.” “They have the troops, they still have a great plan and they have much better fighting ability than the Russians.”

According to the New York Democrat, Zelensky said that if Congress does not pass further assistance for Ukraine and the country does not get the ammunition it needs, Ukraine will lose its war with Russia.

If Ukraine loses, Schumer warned, “Our allies will think we will not stick with them anymore. It’ll be a great hurt to NATO and Europe, and autocrats, worst of all, autocrats will feel they can push the US around.”

Schumer called upon Johnson to take action on the foreign aid bill and said that he should come to Ukraine.

“If he put the bill on the floor, it would pass,” he said. “There are a good number of Republicans in the House who know how important it is. And he has to see that history is on his back. He cannot have obeisance to Donald Trump. He has to do the right thing here. And we’re going to make that point to him.”

President Joe Biden on Friday repeated his calls on Congress to pass his administration’s national security supplemental.

“Congress knows that by supporting this bill, we can strengthen security in Europe, strengthen our security at home, and stand up to Putin. Opposing this bill only plays into his hands,” Biden wrote in a statement.

Schumer’s visit to Ukraine came as the Biden administration imposed sanctions on more than 500 targets Friday in response to the death of Russian opposition figure and outspoken Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny and Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The senator called the sanctions “very important” and “a big step forward,” but warned “This won’t be the end of it.”

“I am sure there’s more that we can do,” Schumer said. “We must show Putin that he can pay a price, an economic price as well as a political price and a military price. The best way, by the way, to punish him for what he did for Navalny is to get the aid passed, and that aid will really put Putin behind the eight ball.”

This story has been updated with additional details.

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