Joe Biden emphasized that withholding support for Ukraine contradicts the interests of the United States, and he pledged that his administration will secure funding for Ukraine.
“The failure to support Ukraine is just absolutely crazy. It’s against US interests. We’re going to get that in,” Biden vowed.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the United States risks being responsible for Ukraine’s defeat if Congress doesn’t approve the Biden administration’s multi-billion-dollar funding request. Yellen stressed the critical importance of the funding, especially for Ukraine’s general government budget support, as it is a pre-condition for maintaining International Monetary Fund support to Ukraine.
“I’ve talked to members of Congress, my colleagues have. I think they understand this, that this is a dire situation and we can hold ourselves responsible for Ukraine’s defeat if we don’t manage to get this funding to Ukraine that’s needed, and I’m including direct budget support here because that’s utterly essential,” Yellen said.
On 5 December, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said that the postponement of the US aid created a “big risk” that Ukraine would lose its nearly two-year-old war against Russia’s invasion.
“It would be impossible to continue to liberate and give the big risk to lose this war,” Mr. Yermak said.
The US Senate is set to vote on aid for Ukraine on Wednesday, 6 December. The Biden administration’s proposal, seeking approval for a $110.5 billion allocation to support Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, includes $61 billion for Ukraine. Republicans insist on addressing issues related to strengthening the border with Mexico, the source of illegal migration into the US. However, Democrats are reluctant to include these measures, creating a point of contention.
Under pressure from the House, Republicans have twice rejected including military aid for Ukraine in stopgap spending bills, raising concerns among Ukrainian officials.
On the eve of the vote on 5 December, numerous closed-door briefings were held in the US Congress, including one where President Zelensky was scheduled to speak online. However, at the last minute, he canceled his address. According to the New York Times, the briefing with administration officials turned into a partisan confrontation, with Republicans accusing Democrats of disregarding their demands for border security measures.