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Updated Dec 11, 2023, 12:05pm EST
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Semafor Signals

Will Washington hear Zelenskyy’s latest pitch for Ukraine aid?

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy gestures during press conference with local media in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 10, 2023.
REUTERS/Stringer
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit the White House and meet with congressional leaders on Tuesday as U.S. lawmakers consider a $60 billion aid package for Kyiv.

It is Zelenskyy’s third trip to Washington since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and his second in less than three months.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Zelenskyy’s visit confirms this is “a critical week for lawmakers to pass more assistance for Kyiv,” Semafor’s Morgan Chalfant and Joseph Zeballos-Roig write. Last week, Senate Republicans blocked a $110.5 billion security package for Ukraine and Israel, demanding stiffer border controls in exchange for foreign aid. But they’ve shown no sign of relenting. One Senate Democrat told Semafor that the party could be open to tightening some immigration laws for asylum seekers, and expects the White House to get more involved in the negotiations.

One argument in favor of Ukraine aid: The global geopolitical order is at stake. The U.S. abandoning Ukraine would send the message to Russia and China “that smaller adversaries can be crushed with impunity and that there are rewards for geopolitical gangsterism,” CNN’s Stephen Collinson argues. It would also damage the Ukraine and European economies and raise questions about Washington’s commitment to other countries that currently get billions in aid, including in the Middle East, a former White House economic policy advisor wrote in Barron’s.

Globally, new aid pledges from Ukraine’s allies have slowed over the last few months, according to an institute that tracks the funding. EU leaders are set to meet this week and discuss a 70 billion-euro aid package and possibly start talks for Ukraine to join the bloc — but Hungary’s Viktor Orbán has threatened to veto those measures. According to Le Monde, one European diplomat who “is not in the habit of sounding alarmist” told the paper, “This summit could be a disaster." Another insider warned there will “undoubtedly be blood on the walls.”

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