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Mike Pence makes surprise trip to Ukraine to meet with Volodymyr Zelensky

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets with former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Kyiv on Thursday. Pence told Zelensky that the United States would continue to stand with Ukraine 'until victory is achieved.' Photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Office
1 of 2 | President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets with former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Kyiv on Thursday. Pence told Zelensky that the United States would continue to stand with Ukraine 'until victory is achieved.' Photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Office | License Photo

June 29 (UPI) -- Former Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Thursday, meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to show support for his country in the face of Russia's invasion.

At the presidential palace in Kyiv, Pence told Zelensky that the United States would continue to stand with Ukraine "until victory is achieved but then justice is also achieved," according to CNN.

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Pence also visited the villages of Bucha, Irpin and Moschun, to see firsthand the damage that they have undergone from violence and shelling during the past year. He also met with locals and toured memorials for those killed in the war.

"I believe America's the leader of the free world," Pence told NBC News. "But coming here just as a private citizen -- being able to really see firsthand the heroism of the Ukrainian soldiers holding the line in those woods, see the heroism of the people here in Irpin that held back the Russian army, to see families whose homes were literally shelled in the midst of an unconscionable and unprovoked Russian invasion -- just steels my resolve to do my part, to continue to call for strong American support for our Ukrainian friends and allies."

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Pence's visit comes as Ukraine has begun its counteroffensive, and the recent Wagner rebellion in Russia. He is also trying to win the Republican party's nomination for 2024.

According to a recent NBC News national poll, 52% of GOP primary voters said they would be less likely to back a candidate who supports sending more funding and weapons to Ukraine, while just 28% said they would be more likely.

However, Mykhailo Podolyak, one of Zelensky's top advisers, said that he understands exactly who Russia is.

"He deeply understands Russia and deeply understands the nature of this conflict, that it is not about territories, not about any businesses, not about anything except the main thing ... those values for which the United States were created," Podolyak said, naming "freedom, competition and democracy."

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