Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Friday led a delegation of lawmakers to Ukraine to mark the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

What You Need To Know

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., led a delegation of Democratic U.S. senators to Ukraine ahead of the two-year anniversary of Russia's invasion

  • The New York Democratic leader’s visit comes as the U.S. levied a massive tranche of new sanctions on Russia to mark the anniversary of its incursion into Ukraine and in the wake of the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny

  • Schumer urged the House of Representatives a Senate-passed bill providing billions in aid to Ukraine, which has stalled in the Republican-led chamber

  • Johnson's opposition to the foreign aid bill has raised the possibility that Democrats and some pro-Ukraine aid Republicans could form a coalition to circumvent the speaker and force a vote on the measure

The New York Democratic leader’s visit comes as the U.S. levied a massive tranche of new sanctions on Russia to mark the anniversary of its incursion into Ukraine and in the wake of the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny — and as a Senate-passed bill providing billions in aid to Ukraine is stalled in the Republican-controlled House.

"We are here because we have to be here," Schumer said in a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shared on social media. "This is not just a nice thing to do, we are obligated to come. It's imperative to come ... you are not only defending this beautiful country, which we want to see free, you're defending Europe, you are defending the West and you are defending the honor and strength of the United States. So we believe in you, we are passionate about believing in you, and we know that history is looking upon you and looking upon us as well."

"We have come because, as you said, the Senate and the good bipartisan Democrat and Republican have voted for the aid that is so needed," he continued. "Unfortunately, the House as still not made up their minds. And one of the main reasons we've come here is to help them make up their minds. We want to tell them what we have seen. We want to show them. We have heard from so many that if you don't get the aid, you will lose the war, but if you get the aid, you will win the war."

“We are here to show the Ukrainian people that America stands with them and will continuing fighting to get the funding they so desperately need and deserve,” Schumer said in a statement, before pledging: “We will not stop fighting until we gain the aid.”

Echoing an oft-used refrain of President Joe Biden, a staunch supporter of Ukraine aid, Schumer said that “we believe we are at an inflection point in history,” adding: “We must make it clear to our friends and allies around the globe that the US does not back away from our responsibilities and allies.”

“If we fail to stand by our allies there will be severe political, diplomatic, economic, and military consequences that will significantly hurt the American people over the next decades,” Schumer said.

Despite the best efforts of Biden and Schumer, and the bipartisan support for Ukraine aid in the Senate, the package has stalled in the Republican-led House amid outcry from far-right hardline GOP members of House Speaker Mike Johnson’s conference.

“When we return to Washington, we will make clear to Speaker Johnson and others in Congress who are obstructing military and economic support exactly what is at stake here in Ukraine and for the rest of Europe and the free world,” Schumer said. “We will keep working to ensure Congress steps up, does the right thing, and delivers help for our friends and allies.”

But it’s unclear whether that will be enough to sway Johnson, who has resisted efforts to put the bill on the floor despite the bipartisan support in the Senate. The final vote on the $95 billion international aid measure, which was put forward after a bipartisan version including border aid was scuttled by Republicans, was 70-29, with 22 GOP lawmakers joining nearly all Democrats to pass the bill.

"House Republicans were crystal clear from the very beginning of discussions that any so-called national security supplemental legislation must recognize that national security begins at our own border," Johnson said, despite his opposition to the Senate's bipartisan immigration proposal.

"In the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters," Johnson added.

Johnson's stance has raised the possibility that Democrats and some pro-Ukraine aid Republicans could form a coalition to circumvent the speaker and force a vote on the foreign aid. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., declared earlier this month that his caucus would “utilize every available legislative tool” to bring the bill for a vote.

“All options are on the table,” he said at the time.

But there may be some hesitance by Republicans to flout the speaker's authority. A bipartisan group of House lawmakers last week introduced a more narrow counter-proposal to provide aid to Ukraine and Israel, but it's unclear whether that has enough support to pass, nor has Johnson committed to putting that bill on the floor for a vote.

Notably, the delegation Schumer led to Ukraine was all Democratic: Senate Armed Services Chairman Jack Reed, D-R.I., as well as Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

Schumer said in his statement that the lawmakers plan on learning “granular detail about the armaments Ukraine so vitally needs and the consequences of the failure to deliver them,” particularly noting the advantages Russia would gain if the aid doesn’t come.

In a statement announcing the new sanctions on Friday, Biden stressed the importance of getting the aid passed, while emphasizing the administration’s new tactic of emphasizing that the bill will benefit the U.S. economy.

“Two years into this war, the people of Ukraine continue to fight with tremendous courage. But they are running out of ammunition,” Biden said. “Ukraine needs more supplies from the United States to hold the line against Russia’s relentless attacks, which are enabled by arms and ammunition from Iran and North Korea. That’s why the House of Representatives must pass the bipartisan national security supplemental bill, before it’s too late.”

“History is watching,” he warned. “The failure to support Ukraine at this critical moment will not be forgotten.”

In an interview with ABC News on Friday, Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba warned of grave consequences if foreign aid does not get passed: “If it doesn't come, Ukraine will pay with human lives and losses of territory.”