House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's surprise Sunday trip to Ukraine's capital made her the highest-ranking US official to meet in-person with President Volodymyr Zelensky since the war began. The delegation also included the following: "...Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Adam Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence panel, and Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, who leads the House Rules Committee. Democratic Reps. Bill Keating of Massachusetts, Barbara Lee of California and Jason Crow of Colorado were also part of the delegation, according to Pelosi’s office," as listed by CNN.
But Pelosi's rhetoric during the about 3-hours spent on the ground before heading back across the border to Poland has some allies very nervous, given it signals likely continued escalation. She stated in Sunday morning comments that Washington will support the Ukrainians "until victory is won" against Russia.
She described to reporters that the purpose of her trip was "to send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine." Significantly it comes a week following the 'high risk' trip of Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Kiev.
During Pelosi's trip the Ukrainian side also thanked the US delegation for Biden's recent mammoth $33 billion aid package for the Ukrainians, and yet the consistent message out of Kiev has still been give us more, more, more.
"I am thankful to you for this signal of strong support for Ukraine," Zelensky later said after meeting with Pelosi. And the Democratic House speaker later stressed before reporters in Poland: "America stands with Ukraine. We stand with Ukraine until victory is won. And we stand with Nato."
On Monday she met President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw. She called him "a valued partner in supporting the people of Ukraine in the face of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s brutal and unprovoked war."
However, The New York Times has emphasized in a fresh report that some US allies are alarmed by America's ratcheting rhetoric yet without agreed upon definable goals. "But if there is a new allied consensus about supplying Ukraine with heavier and more sophisticated weapons for the latest stage of the war in eastern Ukraine, there is no allied consensus about switching the war aim from Ukraine to Russia," the report lays out.
US delegation headed by Speaker Pelosi met Zelensky in Kyiv. “We are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom, that we’re on a frontier for freedom and that your fight is a fight for everyone. And so our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done.” pic.twitter.com/9qYFQ5dtnd— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) May 1, 2022
Europe, which has with the exception of the UK remained consistently more reluctant in what it's willing to do - fearing actions like sending tanks will be seen by Moscow as hugely escalatory - is described by commentary featured in the Times as being dragged into a broader conflict:
There is a sense in Europe that "the US is dragging everyone into a different war", said Professor François Heisbourg, a French defense analyst, citing similar comments by Mr Biden about "the butcher of Moscow" and how "Putin must go". Some wonder what Washington is trying to say – or do.
"To help Ukraine prevail is not about waging war against Russia for reasons related to its governance," Prof Heisbourg said. "Regime change may be a vision but not a war aim."
He and others said that such talk from Washington plays perfectly into Mr Putin's narrative that Nato is waging war against Russia, and that Russia is fighting a defensive war for its survival in Ukraine.
Indeed this has been the fear of many American pundits from the beginning - however which rarely get a platform in mainstream media. Instead, the major networks have tended to feature only the most hawkish voices, even as likely the majority of Americans remain fearful of any potential WW3 scenario.