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, Sunday, May 22, 2022.

Holly Adams | Bloomberg | Getty Images

US officials are speaking 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 annual gathering of the world’s wealthiest investors and most powerful leaders in Davos, Switzerland, marks closed-door meetings as attendees await Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He is addressing the stage on Wednesday where he is likely to plead for more help for his country.

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

“I think we should be clear about our shared priority of supporting Ukraine,” Coons told CNBC on Tuesday before ducking into a private meeting room at the World Economic Forum’s Congress Center. He said US officials and their allies at the conference “must 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, DW.Va. and Kirsten Sinema, I-Ariz.

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For Coons, it was the latest moment while attending this year’s World Economic Forum that he has raised the issue of war in Ukraine with Russia. At a private lunch on Monday with other US lawmakers in the presence of dozens of CEOs, Coons addressed the amount of aid the US has given to Ukraine so far. The US has already sent some $50 billion in military, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine; Congress approved $44.9 billion in additional funding on December 23.

Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February and thousands have died since then.

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

Biden’s US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told CNBC on Tuesday that the war in Ukraine came to the fore in a 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 in the dinner as it was private.

Walsh said that “everyone supported Ukraine” over Russia at the dinner. The conversation made him think that the Ukrainian leader hoped to get more financial aid while in Davos, he said.

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