Biden invites Zelenskiy to White House for Dec 12 meeting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden has invited Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to a meeting at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing war against Russia and the “vital importance” of continued U.S. support of their defense efforts.

The White House in a statement on Sunday said the two will discuss the “urgent needs” facing Ukraine. The meeting comes as the White House looks to strike an agreement with Congress that would provide military aid for Ukraine and Israel.

Zelenskiy’s office also said on Sunday on the Telegram messaging app that the Ukrainian leader would arrive in Washington on Monday and that he would meet Biden during a working visit that would include “a series of meetings and discussions.”

Zelenskiy has also been invited to address U.S. senators on Tuesday at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT) in the Capitol, a Senate leadership aide said on Sunday.

A private meeting between Zelenskiy and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson will also be held in the Capitol on Tuesday, Johnson spokesman Raj Shah said in an email to Reuters.

Key topics during Zelenskiy’s visit would include defense cooperation between the United States and Ukraine, “particularly through joint projects on the production of weapons and air defense systems, as well as the coordination of efforts between our countries in the coming year,” Zelenskiy’s office said.

(Reporting by Pete Schroeder, Elaine Monaghan and Richard Cowan; Editing by Diane Craft, Marguerita Choy and Mark Porter)