McConnell said in a statement Saturday night that the delegation “just left Ukraine” and called it an “honour” to meet Zelensky and his senior advisers. McConnell was joined on the unannounced trip by Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John Barrasso of Wyoming and John Cornyn of Texas.
McConnell and the other senators were the last US officials to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded the Eastern European country in late February.
The Kentucky Republican said in the statement that the delegation to Zelensky “reaffirmed” that the United States is fully behind Ukraine and will maintain our support until Ukraine wins this war. It is also essential that America does not stand alone.”
He continued: “It is completely in our national interest to help Ukraine achieve victory in this war and to help Ukraine and other countries deter other wars of aggression before they start.”
In his late night speech Saturday, Zelensky said he discussed with the delegation US support for Ukraine and tightening sanctions against Russia.
“I believe 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.
The Ukrainian president added that he “expressed gratitude for the historic decision to renew the Lend Lease program” during the GOP delegation’s visit.
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.”
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.
Daniella Diaz of CNN contributed to this report.