U.S. House speaker declines Zelenskiy invitation to visit Ukraine -CNN
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he has no plans to visit Ukraine after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy extended an invitation, CNN reported on Wednesday.
In an interview with CNN set to air on Wednesday, Zelenskiy asked McCarthy, a Republican, to see the situation in Ukraine firsthand.
"Mr. McCarthy, he has to come here to see how we work, what’s happening here.... Then after that, make your assumptions," Zelenskiy said in the CNN interview.
The United States has extended nearly $32 billion in aid to Ukraine since Russian troops invaded on Feb. 24, 2022, but some far-right Republicans have balked at sending more.
Asked about Zelenskiy's invitation, McCarthy told CNN he did not need to travel to the country and would get information in other ways.
"I will continue to get my briefings and others, but I don’t have to go to Ukraine or Kyiv to see it," he told the television network.
McCarthy's position has been that he backs Ukraine but that House Republicans, who took control of the chamber in January, will not provide "a blank check" for U.S. assistance to Kyiv.
The invitation came as the United States wrestled with a budget deficit and the prospect of possibly hitting its debt limit in coming months. Democratic U.S. President Joe Biden is set to unveil his budget proposal on Thursday.
Biden made a surprise visit to Kyiv last month to show U.S. solidarity with Ukraine one-year after the conflict began as have other top U.S. officials and some members of Congress.
(Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)