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Oct 2, 2023, 3:59pm EDT
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Is US support for Ukraine waning?

REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
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The White House and Ukrainian authorities are trying to assuage concerns over U.S. support to Ukraine after Congress passed a short-term spending bill that omitted $6 billion in aid. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba dismissed the omission as a one-time occurrence and said Kyiv was in talks with Republicans and Democrats to prevent it from happening again. “We do not believe that U.S. support has faltered,” he said.

However, Republican opposition to funding Ukraine is growing ahead of the 2024 presidential elections, and the fight in Congress to quickly pass another funding bill is fraught. 

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Despite Ukrainian officials tempering doubts over Washington’s support, they are concerned that Republican opposition to Ukraine funding could increase ahead of the 2024 presidential election where GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has been a major critic of U.S. aid to Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reports. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has previously warned that Ukraine might find itself without partners due to domestic politics or elections. Last week, more than half of House Republicans voted against a bill allocating $300 million to arm Ukraine. The latest funding omission will also prompt U.S. allies to question Washington’s role as a leader in helping Ukraine defend itself to maintain global security.

The way forward for U.S. aid to Ukraine is “murky” and Ukraine’s supporters worry it could have catastrophic consequences for Kyiv on the battlefield, writes Semafor’s Morgan Chalfant. If Speaker Kevin McCarthy survives a conservative plot to oust him with Democratic backing, it might be easier to put a Ukraine funding bill up for a floor vote. But there are doubts whether his plan to link it with border security would make it easier to pass, given that it could alienate the Democrats.

The U.S. fears that Western allies may be forced to abandon support for Ukraine if Kyiv does not clamp down on high-level corruption, according to a leaked U.S. strategy document obtained by Politico. The Biden administration wants to be tough on Ukraine’s graft, but is wary about fueling Republican criticism of U.S. aid to the country. Ukrainian corruption has long been a concern of U.S. officials, and while the topic was sidelined in the wake of Russia’s invasion, the Biden administration is now pursuing the matter more forcefully in public and private discussions with Kyiv.

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