Politics Nancy Pelosi Visits Ukraine, Receives Medal from President Zelenskyy: 'There for You Until the Fight Is Done' The House Speaker — the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded — was awarded a medal by Zelenskyy during the secret visit by a small congressional delegation By Aaron Parsley Aaron Parsley Aaron Parsley has been a part of PEOPLE's digital team for more than 15 years. People Editorial Guidelines Published on May 2, 2022 11:08 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via Getty House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv Saturday during a surprise visit to Ukraine amid the country's ongoing war with Russia. Pelosi, dressed in a blue suit that matches a color of the Ukrainian flag, was filmed alongside other American lawmakers greeting Zelenskyy on the street while surrounded by armed guards before joining him inside the presidential palace where he has been living throughout the war. "We are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom, that we're on a frontier of freedom and that your fight is a fight for everyone," Pelosi said, according to video posted by Zelenskyy on Twitter. "And so our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done." Second in line for the presidency after the vice president, Pelosi, 82, is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded in late February. Angelina Jolie Visits Lviv, Ukraine, to 'Welcome Internally Displaced Ukrainians': Reports Democratic Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York, Adam Schiff of California, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Bill Keating of Massachusetts, Barbara Lee of California and Jason Crow of Colorado joined Pelosi, also of California, on the trip, according to a statement released by the speaker's office. "You all are welcome," Zelenskyy told the U.S. officials. The president awarded Pelosi with the Order of Princess Olga for "her significant personal contribution to strengthening Ukrainian-American interstate cooperation and supporting sovereign, independent and democratic Ukraine," according to a statement from his office. The trip was not revealed until after the congressional delegation had safely left Ukraine, according to the AP. Details of how and when the lawmakers traveled into and out of the country were also not disclosed. Amal Clooney Tells United Nations: 'Ukraine is a Slaughterhouse, Right in the Heart of Europe' "Our discussion centered around the subjects at hand, as you would suspect: security, humanitarian assistance, economic assistance and eventually rebuilding when victory is won," Pelosi said during a press conference in Poland of meeting with Zelenskyy. "We were proud to convey to him a message of unity from the Congress of the United States, a message of appreciation from the American people for his leadership and admiration to the people of Ukraine for their courage." Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via Getty A spokesman for Pelosi told CNN the lawmakers spent three hours in Kyiv before they traveled to Poland, where they met with President Andrzej Duda and other Polish officials as well as American troops stationed there with the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division. Biden Taps Bridget Brink as Next Ambassador to Ukraine; Previous Diplomat Was Fired by Trump "On behalf of Congress and the Country, we conveyed our pride and appreciation for their patriotic service to our nation Pelosi," said in a statement of meeting with U.S. troops. "It is with great sorrow that we come here," Pelosi said in Poland. "With great pride, we leave with a firmer understanding and more current understanding of what needs to be done — with a deeper appreciation and inspiration from those who are in this fight." Russia's attack on Ukraine continues after their forces launched a large-scale invasion on Feb. 24 — the first major land conflict in Europe in decades. Details of the fighting change by the day, but thousands of civilians have already been reported dead or wounded, including children, though the actual number of deaths is difficult to determine. More than 5.5 million have fled the country as refugees — and half are children, according to the United Nations. Millions more have been displaced inside Ukraine. The invasion, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has drawn condemnation around the world and increasingly severe economic sanctions against Russia. With NATO forces amassed in the region, various countries are offering aid or military support to the resistance. Zelenskyy has called for peace talks — so far unsuccessful — while urging his country to fight back. Putin insists Ukraine has historic ties to Russia and he is acting in the best security interests of his country. Zelenskyy vowed not to bend. "Nobody is going to break us, we're strong, we're Ukrainians," he told the European Union in a speech in the early days of the fighting, adding, "Life will win over death. And light will win over darkness." The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.