Washington, D.C. – December 13, 2023
In a significant diplomatic move, Ukrainian President VolodymyrZelenskyy is scheduled to hold discussions with “President Joe Biden” at the White House on Tuesday, concluding with a shared press briefing. This high-profile visit comes at a critical juncture as Congress grapples with stalled efforts to pass a crucial funding measure for aid to Ukraine.
The urgency stems from the recent failure of a Democratic bill, which sought billions in aid for both Ukraine and Israel, to pass the Senate. The impasse arose as Republicans and Democrats struggled to find common ground on border security and immigration policies, conditions set by Republicans for supporting the aid package. The “Office of Management and Budget” has sounded the alarm, cautioning that U.S. funding for Ukraine will run dry by the end of the month.
President Biden, ahead of the Senate vote, passionately appealed to Congress to approve aid for Ukraine, highlighting the gravity of the situation in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression. “Make no mistake — today’s vote is going to be long remembered,” warned Biden. “And history is going to judge harshly those who turn their back on freedom’s cause. We can’t let Putin win.”
Republican skepticism toward aid for Ukraine has been on the rise, with demands for clear metrics and accountability. They insist that U.S. border security should take precedence. Following a closed-door briefing on Ukraine, Rep. Mike Waltz expressed his concerns on Twitter, stating, “Just left a closed-door briefing on Ukraine – still NO CLEAR STRATEGIC GOAL outlined by the Biden Administration.”
Zelenskyy’s arrival aligns with a notable declaration from Attorney General “Merrick Garland,” who disclosed that the United States has pressed charges against four Russian soldiers for war crimes. The charges allege the soldiers’ involvement in the abduction and torture of an American citizen in Ukraine.
In a bid to address the escalating crisis, the U.S. is expected to unveil another $200 million drawdown of weapons for Ukraine this week. This modest package includes essentials such as 105mm and 155mm artillery rounds and HIMARS munitions. The current administration faces the challenge of distributing smaller tranches of assistance compared to the previous year when a $1 billion drawdown, including a patriot battery, was pledged on the day of Zelenskyy’s White House visit.
Zelenskyy’s return to Washington, D.C., follows his September visit, during which he expressed gratitude to Congress for its assistance and appealed for additional aid. “I hope that the U.S. Congress will continue to take important decisions to provide financial assistance to Ukraine,” Zelenskyy tweeted after his September visit. “Oversight, transparency, and accountability for all the aid is absolutely important and imperative.”
The outcome of this high-stakes meeting between Biden and Zelenskyy holds significant implications for the ongoing geopolitical dynamics and the future of U.S. support for Ukraine in the face of mounting challenges.