WASHINGTON — Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, will deliver remarks to members of Congress in person Wednesday as her country continues its defense against Russia’s invasion.
Zelenska will address lawmakers at 11 a.m. ET in a Capitol Visitor Center auditorium — the same setting where her husband, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, spoke to Congress virtually in March, just a few weeks after Russia’s military entered the country.
In a letter to her colleagues Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said there have been “horrific stories about the brutal treatment of women and girls by Russian forces,” including kidnappings, deportations into Russia and rape.
“When I have commented to some that it is outrageous and sickening that war produces such atrocities, I have been told these barbaric crimes are being directly ordered by Putin,” Pelosi said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Let me be clear: Rape of children cannot be a weapon of war. It is a war crime!”
Zelenska is expected to share details about these attacks, “as well as offer insight on security, economic and humanitarian conditions on the ground,” Pelosi said.
Zelenska met with President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden at the White House on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters during the meeting, Jill Biden, who visited Ukraine in May, said, “You cannot go into a war zone and come back and not feel the sorrow and the pain of the people I met.” She added that the group at the meeting, which included several top Biden administration officials, would discuss ways to help address the mental health needs of the Ukrainian people, a subject the two first ladies discussed in their initial meeting on Mother’s Day.
Congress passed a $40 billion aid package for military, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
The White House said Tuesday that it has detailed information that Russia plans to annex more Ukrainian territory, including forcing residents to apply for Russian citizenship, making the ruble the official currency and taking control of telecommunications networks.