House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a surprise trip to Kyiv, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Ukraine since Russia’s invasion. Pelosi, leading the first official congressional delegation since the war, told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that “our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done.”
Pelosi walked the streets of Ukraine’s capital with House lawmakers, including Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory W. Meeks (N.Y.) and Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (Mass.). The delegation, which met Zelensky on Saturday evening local time, has now left Ukraine for Poland, where they will meet President Andrzej Duda. In Kyiv, Zelensky awarded Pelosi with the Order of Princess Olga, a decoration bestowed upon women who have made outstanding contributions to Ukraine. “Thank you for helping to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state!” he wrote on Twitter.
The visit came as civilian evacuations from a Mariupol steel plant that has been the last base for Ukrainian fighters in the besieged port city were expected to continue on Sunday, after a group of about 20 women and children were allowed to leave under a cease-fire that began Saturday. Ukrainian officials think up to 1,000 people have taken shelter at the complex, which has been pummeled by Russian strikes in the Kremlin’s bid to secure Mariupol, an industrial center on the Sea of Azov that is seen as a strategic prize for Russian President Vladimir Putin.