US officials are talking privately with allies, business leaders about Ukraine

A Porsche luxury car drives past the Ukrainian House pavilion ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Sunday, May 22, 2022.

Hollie Adams | Bloomberg | Getty Images

US officials are meeting privately at the World Economic Forum with allies around the world to discuss ongoing aid to Ukraine as it approaches the second year of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of the sovereign nation.

The closed-door meetings at the annual gathering of the world’s richest investors and most powerful leaders in Davos, Switzerland, come as attendees await Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He is addressing a forum on Wednesday where he could make a plea for more aid to his country.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who is one of President Joe Biden’s closest allies in the Senate, told CNBC that he spoke with officials in Davos about the need to continue helping Ukraine.

“I think we need to be clear about our shared priority of supporting Ukraine,” Coons said Tuesday, speaking to CNBC in a hallway before entering a private meeting room at the World Economic Forum Convention Center. He added that US officials and their allies at the conference must be clear “about the length, cost and complexity of the fight against Russian aggression and the attempt to liberate all of Ukraine.” Other members of Congress attending the conference include Sens. Joe Manchin, DW.Va. and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz.

For Coons, this is the last moment while attending this year’s World Economic Forum that he mentioned the war in Ukraine with Russia. Coons spoke at a private lunch Monday attended by dozens of CEOs, along with other US lawmakers, about the amount of aid the US has given Ukraine so far. The US has already sent about $50 billion in military, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine; On December 23, Congress approved an additional $44.9 billion in additional funding.

Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and thousands of people have been killed since then.

And it’s not just Coons or members of Congress from the US delegation who are privately addressing Russia attacking Ukraine.

Marty Walsh, Biden’s US labor secretary, told CNBC on Tuesday that the war in Ukraine was a topic of conversation with three members of the Ukrainian parliament at a private dinner at the Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvedere on Monday. He did not name the other participants of the dinner because it was private.

Walsh said that at the dinner, “everyone supported Ukraine” over Russia. The conversation led him to think that Ukrainian leaders were hoping to pick up more financial aid while in Davos, he said.

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