July 19, 2024

The White House on Tuesday warned of the potential fallout if Congress does not pass additional aid for Ukraine after assistance for Kyiv was left out of a short-term government funding measure.

John Kirby, a White House spokesperson on national security issues, told reporters that a lapse in military and financial support for even a short period of time could embolden Russia and leave Ukraine at a disadvantage.

“It is imperative that we help them take advantage of every single day,” Kirby said. “A lapse in support for even a short period of time can make all the difference on the battlefield, just as creating such a lapse in support will make [Russian President] Putin believe he can wait us out and that he can continue the conflict until we and our allies and partners fold.”

Kirby argued that supporting Ukraine strengthens U.S. national security, and called it “the right thing to do.”

The White House has in recent days been outspoken about its ongoing support for Ukraine and the need for Congress to hold a vote on additional aid for the country, which Russia invaded in February 2022. The U.S. has provided billions of dollars in military and financial assistance since then and coordinated aid with allied nations.

The White House in August sent a supplemental funding request to Congress that included $24 billion in military, financial and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

Lawmakers did not approve additional Ukraine aid as part of a 45-day measure passed over the weekend to keep government funding at current levels and avoid a shutdown.

Biden has been adamant that the U.S. will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes for Kyiv to win the war, and he has called on Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to hold a vote on additional funding, noting that there is bipartisan support for Ukraine.

A minority of Republicans have expressed opposition to continued support for Ukraine, arguing it is not in the United States’ interest to help Kyiv in its war against Russia. But a majority of lawmakers in both parties have continued to support Ukraine aid.

Biden held a call earlier Tuesday with allied leaders to discuss ongoing coordination in support for Ukraine in preparation for the winter months.

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