Biden seeks to reassure shaken US allies on Ukraine aid
President Joe Biden called Western allies Tuesday to reassure them US aid for Ukraine will continue, but the White House warned it could run out in months if Republicans in Congress fail to pass new funds for Kyiv’s fight against the Russian invasion.
Biden spoke with the leaders of Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, the heads of the EU and NATO, and the foreign minister of France to “coordinate” on helping war-torn Ukraine, the White House said.
Washington has been scrambling to calm shaken allies after an 11th-hour deal in the US Congress to avoid a government shutdown on Saturday dropped new funding for Kyiv, amid opposition from hardline Republicans.
Biden told the allied leaders he was “confident” Congress would agree to fund new assistance for Ukraine, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
But Kirby warned that US aid will only last “perhaps a couple of months or so” if not, adding that it was vital to help Kyiv’s slow-moving counteroffensive before winter sets in.
“Time is not our friend,” Kirby said at a briefing. “We have enough funding authorities to meet Ukraine’s battlefields needs for a bit longer, but we need Congress to act.”
– ‘Reassure allies’ –
After Tuesday’s call, the allies rushed to show a united front with Biden, whose country is by far the largest supplier of aid to Ukraine.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s office said Biden was “keen to reassure the allies about the continuing American support for Ukraine, also following the recent decisions of the US Congress.”
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak “thanked President Biden for convening the call” and for his “leadership,” adding that Western support would continue for “as long as it takes.”
NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg said the call was “good” while EU chief Charles Michel said the allies “stand united.”
But Russia has pounced on the chaos in Washington, with the Kremlin saying on Monday that Western war fatigue would grow amid the uncertainty over US assistance for Ukraine.
Democrat Biden has called for Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to rush through new aid, saying that US support for Kyiv could not be interrupted “under any circumstances.”
“We are the indispensable nation in the world — let’s act like it,” Biden said on X, formerly Twitter, earlier Tuesday.
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