July 19, 2024

Ukraine’s top diplomat on Monday described Congress’s move to pull Ukraine funding from a short-term deal to avert a government shutdown as an “incident” that does not signal a shattering of Washington’s support for Kyiv.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Ukrainian officials are talking to Republicans and Democrats to shore up continued support for Kyiv in its defensive war against Russia so assistance is not axed again “under any circumstances.”

“We have a very in-depth discussion with both parts of the Congress, Republicans and Democrats and against the background of a potential shutdown in the United States the decision was taken as it was,” Kuleba said during a press conference in Kyiv, referring to a bipartisan funding deal that passed the House and Senate on Saturday only after more than $6 billion in funding for Ukraine was removed.

“But we’re now working with both sides of the congress to make sure it does not repeat again, under any circumstances.”

Kuleba continued that Ukraine doesn’t “feel that the U.S. support has been shattered,” adding he believes Kyiv’s supporters in Washington understand Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression is about “stability and predictability of the world.”

“Therefore, I believe we’ll be able to find necessary solutions,” he said.

A majority of lawmakers in both the House and Senate are supportive of continued U.S. military and economic assistance to Ukraine, but efforts to pass President Biden’s request of $24 billion in additional aid have stalled in the face of obstructionist efforts by Republican detractors.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), facing a revolt in his conference over assistance for Ukraine, managed to narrowly avert a government shutdown on Saturday by supporting a short-term government funding bill once it was stripped of Ukraine aid.

The move was a blow to Ukraine’s supporters and came nine days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky came to Washington in a personal appeal for the U.S. to continue providing assistance to Kyiv, warning that without support, Russia could succeed in its goal of destroying Ukraine.

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