We’ll keep supporting Ukraine, Biden tells allies: President calls global partners to assure the U.S. will keep giving Zelensky cash despite chaos in Congress and a pro-Kremlin candidate storming to power in Slovakia
- President Biden spoke with heads of UK, Germany, EU, and Poland
- The call was meant to coordinate support for Ukraine
- Speaker McCarthy’s job hangs in balance; funding bill has no Ukraine aid
President Biden strategized with key allies on a call to coordinate ‘ongoing support’ for Ukraine after a crack in the coalition and billions worth of additional U.S. support snagged by infighting in Congress.
Joining the call were British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, NATO Secretary General Jens Soltenberg, President Andrzej Duda of Poland, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, along with other leaders.
It came after several developments with the prospect if limiting Ukraine’s ability to get the arms it needs as it seeks to regain territory seized by Russia in last year’s invasion.
In NATO ally Slovakia, Robert Fico of the country’s populist Smer-SD party stormed to victory in parliamentary elections. He has pledged to stop providing military aid, in a country that has provided MiG-29 jets to Ukraine. Slovakia and Ukraine share a border in the country’s east.
President Joe Biden spoke with allied leaders about coordinating support for Ukraine, amid signs of difficulty providing continued assistance
His party is considered pro-Kremlin, and Fico campaigned on a slogan of ‘not a single round.
Also joining the call were Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen, Itallian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, President Klaus Iohannis of Romania and the French foreign minister.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s leadership role hangs in the balance after moving legislation that avoided a government shutdown but left out additional Ukraine funding.
A handout photo made available by Ukraine’s Presidential Office shows President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) rewarding Ukrainian servicemen during to his visit to military positions on the front line between Lyman and Kupiansk, 03 October 2023. Ukraine continues to try to repel Russian forces following their February 2022 invasion
A Senate version had $6 billion in emergency support for Ukraine, which is facing a critical period in its effort to try to push back Russia’s invasion force.
Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz has filed a motion to ‘vacate the chair,’ essentially stripping McCarthy of his post, after he relied on Democrats to pass a bill to fund government operations for 45 days. He accused McCarthy of ‘making a secret deal on Ukraine.’
McCarthy says he plans to tie Ukraine aid to border reforms, connecting it to an equally fraught issue.
‘Let’s vote on it,’ Biden said Saturday after U.S. government funding was secured. ‘Stop playing games. Get this done.’
There have also been tensions with Poland, who has been an enthusiastic ally and arms supporter. Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania reached a deal on grain exports, following Polish complaints that Ukrainian grain was flooding the market and lowering prices for farmers.
McCarthy ultimately jettisoned Ukraine funding from the bill to fund the government, after repeatedly promising it would not get a ‘blank check.’
‘What is most concerning about yesterday is that McCarthy folded on all his demands except one: no funding for Ukraine, despite majorities in both chambers supporting it,’ Sen. Chris Murphy, (D-Conn.). ‘Maybe Ukraine can go a few weeks without new funding, but not the rest of the year. A crisis is coming,’ he tweeted on the site renamed as X.
The U.S. has already provided about $75 billion in support to Ukraine, but the country continues to rely on military contributions from the U.S. and other allies amid a virtual stalemate on the battlefield.