Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio is among a group of U.S. lawmakers who will travel to the Munich Security Conference in Germany later this month, where he plans to warn American allies that U.S. support for Ukraine is drying up.
“The message I am going to carry is that the Europeans need to step up,” Vance told Semafor on Wednesday. “As we’re seeing today, even if this ultimately passes in the Senate, there is clearly not an appetite for more blank checks for Ukraine.” He made the comments as the Senate began voting on a package that combines tens of billions in aid for Ukraine, Israel, and allies in the Asia-Pacific.
Vance, who has been rumored as a potential vice presidential pick for Donald Trump, is among the group of Republicans who have vocally opposed more aid to Ukraine. His views will likely stand out at the conference, but they represent a growing faction of his party that argues the U.S. should be spending less on foreign wars or focusing more on threats from China.
Vance said on CNN in December that the U.S. should be looking toward a peace settlement to end the war, even if that meant Ukraine giving up some territory to Russia.
“We are getting to a place where we are going to be functionally on the hook to pay for Ukrainian pensioners, to rebuild the entire country,” he said then. “We need to bring the killing to a stop.”
The annual Munich Security Conference, taking place in mid-February, is widely attended by U.S. and European lawmakers and officials. Russia’s war in Ukraine will be a dominant topic, especially as the two-year anniversary of the conflict approaches and the U.S. and Europe debate the way forward for supporting Kyiv.
The White House in October asked Congress to pass $60 billion in additional military and economic assistance for Ukraine, but the path forward for the package is in doubt after Republicans rejected a bipartisan border security deal meant to satisfy GOP lawmakers who wanted policy changes at the border in exchange for funding for Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the European Union just recently approved a €50 billion ($54 billion) package to help Ukraine’s economy. Officials say European countries could not replace U.S. military aid, however, because of the current lack of defense production capacity.
- Nearly half of Republican voters say the U.S. is providing too much assistance to Ukraine, according to data from the Pew Research Center released in December, a figure that has been steadily increasing.
- Much of the funding the White House has requested for Ukraine would be used to purchase weapons to refill the Pentagon’s own stocks that are being depleted to help Kyiv, Politico reported.