Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an urgent plea Thursday to U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill, telling them that without a new tranche of funding to combat Russian aggression, Ukraine will lose the war.
The White House requested $24 billion in supplemental funding for Ukraine earlier this year. But there is growing Republican concern about providing U.S. aid to Ukraine, combined with broader difficulties passing either a short-term continuing resolution or a full 2024 budget funding the U.S. government past a September 30 deadline.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer summed up the meeting with Zelenskyy, telling the members, “If we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war.”
Later in a statement, Schumer emphasized the danger of not passing the supplemental funding request, saying, “It is very clear that if we were to have a government shutdown, or pass a CR without Ukrainian aid, the damage that would occur on Ukraine’s campaign would be devastating.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a major supporter of U.S. aid to Ukraine in the Senate, was tight-lipped afterwards, only telling reporters it was “a good meeting.”
On Wednesday, McConnell applauded the appointment of an inspector general for the oversight of Ukraine aid.
“Thanks in large part to the requirements Senate Republicans have attached to our aid since the beginning of Russia’s escalation, the United States has unprecedented visibility into how Ukraine is using American weapons,” McConnell said in a statement.
Zelenskyy also met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Thursday ahead of a Pentagon announcement of a new security package of more air defense and artillery capabilities for Ukraine.
Pentagon press secretary, Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, told reporters Thursday that “everything is on schedule” with the delivery of M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine and that if there is a government shutdown, F-16 training in the U.S. for Ukrainian pilots would still take place.
From the beginning of hostilities in February 2022 to May 2023, the U.S. has provided more than $76.8 billion in assistance, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
The share of Americans who say the U.S. is providing too much aid to Ukraine has steadily increased since the start of the war in February 2022, according to a June 2023 Pew Research Center survey.
Just 14% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters said the amount of U.S. aid to Ukraine was excessive but more than 44% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters said the amount of aid was too high. One-third of all Americans told Pew that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a threat to U.S. interests.
Source : VOA News