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Ukrainian President Zelensky Cancels Briefing with US Lawmakers Amid Funding Impasse

The US has approved over $110 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine since the war began in February 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky abruptly cancelled a scheduled virtual briefing with US lawmakers on Tuesday, raising concerns over the future of US funding for Ukraine. The cancellation occurred as a top Ukrainian official warned that the country could face defeat in its war against Russia without additional US military aid. Senate leader Chuck Schumer cited a “last-minute” matter as the reason for Zelensky’s absence, leaving discussions about the aid package in chaos during a classified Senate briefing.

Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, had earlier emphasised the significant risk of Ukrainian defeat without continued US support, urging for immediate action. The White House has been advocating for additional aid to Ukraine, but the US Congress has not yet reached a compromise on the spending package required to fund the war effort.

Shalanda Young, the White House budget director, warned that a failure by Congress to approve more military aid to Ukraine before the end of the year would severely impact the nation’s fight against Russia. The ongoing funding impasse adds pressure to the already complex situation on the frontlines, where recent developments suggest a practical stalemate in the conflict.

The US has approved over $110 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine since the war began in February 2022. However, funding delays are having real consequences on the battlefield, impacting Ukraine’s current counter-offensive and raising doubts about future operations to regain lost territory. The urgent need for tanks, armoured vehicles, fighter planes, drones, and long-range weapons emphasises the crucial role of the US in providing essential hardware.

While bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress support additional aid to Ukraine, translating this support into legislation has proven challenging. Negotiations are ongoing for a $106 billion spending package, including aid to Ukraine, military support for Israel and Taiwan, and increased funding for security on the US-Mexico border. Disagreements over immigration policy changes have caused political tensions, hindering progress on the aid package.

The cancellation of Zelensky’s briefing underscores the urgency of addressing the funding impasse and ensuring continued support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. The outcome of the conflict remains closely tied to both Ukrainian efforts and the decisions made by the United States in the coming days and weeks.

Kiki Garba