In a bid to reaffirm unwavering support for Ukraine amidst political turbulence in Washington, President Joe Biden engaged in diplomatic outreach on Tuesday. He held discussions with leaders from key Western allies, including Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, the European Union, NATO, and the foreign minister of France.
The White House disclosed this effort in a statement, emphasizing the importance of coordinating ongoing assistance for Ukraine, with further details expected to be revealed later.
This outreach comes in the wake of a recent setback in the US Congress, where funding for aid to Ukraine was derailed at the eleventh hour due to opposition from Republican hardliners. President Biden’s telephone conversations aimed to quell concerns among allies, as the United States is the largest contributor of aid to Ukraine in its struggle against Russia’s invasion.
Statements from leaders such as Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak highlighted their appreciation for President Biden’s leadership and reiterated their commitment to supporting Ukraine. NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg and EU chief Charles Michel expressed unity among allies.
However, Russia has capitalized on the situation, asserting that Western war fatigue could increase due to uncertainty surrounding US assistance for Ukraine. President Biden has called on Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to expedite new aid, stressing that support for Kyiv must not waver “under any circumstances.” He emphasized the United States’ crucial role on the world stage and urged swift action.
President Biden’s administration is on the verge of announcing new assistance for the Ukrainian armed forces, utilizing funds from a previously approved $113 billion budget. Yet, the political discord in the divided US political landscape poses a challenge to securing the additional $6 billion in aid sought by the President.
House Speaker McCarthy faces political turmoil within his party, as some far-right members prioritize halting aid to Ukraine. This situation unfolded shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Washington in September, where he implored for continued backing in the face of a protracted counteroffensive against Russian forces.
Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, estimated that Ukraine has received approximately $47 billion in military assistance since Russia’s invasion, although opposition within the Republican Party has been growing, even among some voters. An ABC/Washington Post poll revealed an increase in the number of respondents who believe the United States is doing “too much” to support Ukraine, underscoring the evolving dynamics surrounding this issue.