The United States Government has mobilized at full speed to try to reassure its allies about the provision of aid to Ukraine, after Congress excluded new funds for that country in the law, approved this weekend, that ensures the payment of federal expenses for the next six weeks. This Tuesday, US President Joe Biden held a teleconference with the main partners supporting Kiev to coordinate the next steps in the conflict, as reported by the White House.
Biden convened the call which was joined by the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau; the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the president of the European Council, Charles Michel; the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz; the heads of government of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, and of Japan, Fumio Kishida; NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg; the presidents of Poland and Romania, Andrzej Duda and Klaus Iohannis, respectively; and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Catherine Colonna.
With this conversation, the White House wants to emphasize to allies the message that, despite the setback in Congress due to the opposition of the most radical Republicans, the United States will continue its assistance to Kiev, of which it is the main supporter.
A strong internal fight between the moderate wing and the Trumpist wing in the Republican Party in the US House of Representatives caused a stalemate last week in negotiations to extend the supply of funds to federal institutions. The impasse, which was on the verge of forcing the suspension of non-essential operations of the Administration, was only resolved—for the moment, until mid-November—after both chambers of Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate, accepted exclude funds for Ukraine from the final bill. The White House had requested $24 billion in August to cover Ukrainian needs until the next fiscal year. Once the resistance in the Lower House was clear; The Senate — where support for kyiv is majority among Republicans and Democrats — approved $6.1 billion for kyiv.
The denial of funds incited by congressional ultras caused consternation in the White House and among the ranks of kyiv supporters in both parties. Although Biden signed the law on Saturday night, the next day he addressed Americans to emphasize that Washington will continue assistance to the country invaded by Russia for as long as necessary.
The Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, conveyed that same message of calm to the Ukrainian forces, in a phone call this Monday with his counterpart in Kiev, Rustem Umerov, to “reiterate the continued commitment of the United States in the face of Russian aggression.” , according to the Pentagon.
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In Congress—and while Republicans in the Lower House continue to be engaged in a bitter dispute over the approval of this law, which could cost the president of the institution, fellow Republican Kevin McCarthy, his job—legislators are exploring ways to ensure that Ukraine is not left unprotected. Although the Pentagon has a remainder of about $6 billion, US funds will run out in November if Congress does not approve new items. “We cannot allow, under any circumstances, American support for Ukraine to be interrupted,” Biden urged on Sunday. “We don’t have much time, and there is a lot of urgency.”
The spokesman for the National Security Council, John Kirby, insisted on that idea in a press conference at the White House: a interruption in assistance that deprives Ukrainian forces of weapons or ammunition could have a disastrous result. There are between six and eight weeks of good weather left for Ukraine to continue its counteroffensive and recover occupied ground before the arrival of winter, he explained. “Time is not on our side,” the senior official noted, calling on Congress to renew the help as soon as possible.
Washington is kyiv’s main supporter in the war that began when Russian forces entered the former Soviet republic in February last year. Since then, the US Congress has approved nearly $113 billion in economic, military and humanitarian contributions to Ukraine.
So far, the White House has not provided more details about the content of this Tuesday’s conversation with the allies. From Warsaw, Duda announced that Biden had expressed his conviction that Congress will end up approving the assistance. The American president “began by telling us about the situation in the United States and what the true political situation is around Ukraine. He assured us that there is support for support.” The tenant of the White House received, for his part, the commitment of the rest of the participants to contribute aid, according to the Polish head of state, who revealed that the leaders also addressed the reconstruction plans for the attacked country.
“Good call with NATO leaders,” Stoltenberg said on his account on X, the old Twitter. “While Russia continues its brutal war, all of us remain committed to supporting Ukraine as long as necessary.”
— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) October 3, 2023
However, despite Biden’s optimistic calls and the vast majority of US lawmakers supporting continued support for kyiv; On Capitol Hill it is noted with resignation that it will be increasingly difficult to carry out new games for kyiv. Especially, as the electoral campaign progresses and the November 2024 elections approach, in which all the congressmen of the Lower House and a third of the senators are vying for their seats.
Last week’s votes in the Lower House made it clear that resistance is growing within conservatives to continue what they perceive as a blank check to a distant country. Almost half of the Republican bench in that institution spoke out against what until now had been something routine, an allocation of 300 million dollars for the purchase of weapons and the training of Ukrainian soldiers. One of the options that Republicans in the Lower House now propose is to link aid to Ukraine with the tightening of control measures on the border with Mexico.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to Washington ten days ago to implore lawmakers not to falter in their assistance to the invaded country. A defeat, he warned, would leave an emboldened Russia at the gates of Europe, with great consequences for the West.
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