In a press conference held on Wednesday, President Joe Biden openly voiced his apprehension regarding the ongoing political turmoil in Washington and its potential ramifications on crucial US aid to Ukraine. Urging unity and bipartisanship, Biden emphasized the critical nature of supporting Kyiv in its fight against the Russian invasion.
Biden further disclosed his plans to deliver a major speech addressing the imperative need for continued assistance to Ukraine, particularly in light of the distressing developments in Washington that have raised concerns among US allies.
“I am concerned,” Biden conveyed to reporters when questioned about the recent ousting of Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy by hardline elements within his own party and its possible impact on Ukraine’s funding. He added, “But I know that a majority of members from both parties in the House and Senate have expressed their support for funding Ukraine.”
Despite hopes for a swift resolution to secure funding for Ukraine in the face of the looming US government shutdown, the situation has been complicated by McCarthy’s removal from office.
Several contenders for McCarthy’s replacement have diverse views, including hard-right Republican Jim Jordan, known for his skepticism toward providing financial aid to Ukraine.
The timing is crucial, with the White House issuing warnings that aid could be exhausted within a few months, just as Ukraine is striving to advance its offensive against Russia before the onset of winter.
Biden hinted at exploring alternative avenues for funding that wouldn’t require congressional approval but refrained from divulging further details.
The President is scheduled to receive a briefing on Ukraine from his national security team on Thursday, featuring the newly appointed top US military officer, General Charles “CQ” Brown, according to the White House.
Biden’s recent remarks mark a shift in tone, as he had expressed confidence in passing fresh aid to allies during a call on Tuesday.
He affirmed his commitment to advocating for Ukraine’s cause and the importance of upholding this commitment, stating, “I will soon announce a major speech addressing this issue and explaining why it is of critical importance to the United States and our allies.”
However, Biden did not specify when this speech would be delivered.
Russia has interpreted uncertainties surrounding US aid as a sign of waning Western support for Ukraine, but the White House rejected this notion, asserting that there are no cracks in the alliance. Key European allies, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, remain confident in continued US support for Ukraine.
The United States stands as Ukraine’s most significant supporter, having allocated over $43 billion in military assistance and a total of $113 billion in aid, including humanitarian assistance, as approved by Congress.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned that without new funding, resources could be depleted within a couple of months.
In a separate statement, the US military disclosed providing Ukraine’s armed forces with over 1 million rounds of seized Iranian ammunition, although Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre clarified that this should not be linked to concerns over future US aid.