U.S. officials privately huddle with allies, business leaders about Ukraine


A Porsche luxury automobile passes the Ukraine House pavilion ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Sunday, May 22, 2022.

Hollie Adams | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.S. officials are privately huddling at the World Economic Forum with allies from around the world to discuss ongoing assistance to Ukraine as it approaches its second year in Russia’s unprovoked invasion of the sovereign nation.

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

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

“I think we have to be clear about our shared priority of supporting Ukraine,” Coons said on Tuesday, speaking to CNBC in a hallway before ducking into a private meeting room at the World Economic Forum’s Congress Center. He added that U.S. officials and their allies at the conference have to be clear “on the length, cost and complexity of fighting Russia’s aggression and trying to liberate all of Ukraine.” Other members of Congress attending the conference include Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz.

For Coons, this is the latest moment while attending this year’s World Economic Forum when he’s brought up the war in Ukraine with Russia. Coons, at a private lunch on Monday featuring dozens of CEOs, along with other U.S. lawmakers, addressed the amount of aid the U.S. has given Ukraine so far. The U.S. has already sent some $50 billion in military, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine; Congress approved another $44.9 billion in additional funding on Dec. 23.

Russia initiated its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 and thousands have since been killed.

And it’s not just Coons or members of Congress from the U.S. delegation that’s privately addressing Russia invading Ukraine.

Marty Walsh, Biden’s U.S. Secretary of Labor, told CNBC on Tuesday that the war in Ukraine came up in conversation with three members of Ukraine’s parliament at a private dinner at the Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvedere on Monday. He did not name other participants at the dinner since it was being private.

Walsh said that “everybody supported Ukraine” over Russia at the dinner. The conversation made him think Ukrainian leaders hope to pick up more financial aid while they’re at Davos, he said.

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