Ukraine’s Fate Hangs in the Balance as Zelensky goes to DC

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with congressional leadership and President Biden on Tuesday with the fate of ongoing U.S. support for Ukraine’s war effort against Russia hanging in the balance.

Zelensky’s visit to Washington, in which he’s expected both on Capitol Hill and at the White House, comes as many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agree that the U.S. should continue support to Kyiv, but are at a fierce stalemate over changes to immigration policies that have them pointing fingers at each other.

Biden, for his part, will “make it very clear to President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people that we’re going to support them, particularly at this very difficult time,” John Kirby, a White House spokesperson on national security issues, told reporters on Monday.

The visit also serves as a chance for the president to get an update from Zelensky about progress on the battlefield, where Ukraine’s top general Valery Zaluzhny has warned of a stalemate, and other top officials say the war is grinding into a battle of attrition.

Zelensky will have a different audience to tend to on Capitol Hill where the Ukrainian president is expected to meet with lawmakers in both parties, including Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who has led the charge on conditioning a House vote on Ukraine aid to stricter policies on the southern border.

Over in the Senate, lawmakers erupted during a briefing that devolved into chaos last week over Republican criticisms that Democrats were refusing to engage in good faith on immigration reform. Zelensky canceled a classified, video conference appearance at that briefing with no stated reason.

“I think it was a good idea he wasn’t there,” Romney said of Zelensky’s absence at the time, after leaving the briefing in frustration.

“We agree that Ukraine needs the money… but we also recognize that the president put border security on the table as part of this supplemental, and unless they’re willing to shut down the 10,000 a day being released into the country, they’re not going to get a deal done.”

Biden said last week he’d be willing to make “significant compromises” on border policy to reach a breakthrough on Ukraine funding. But at the same time, the White House has sounded the alarm over the past week that the U.S. will run out of money to provide military support to Ukraine by the end of the year without Congress passing additional funding.

The White House in late October sent an emergency funding request of roughly $100 billion to Congress seeking additional money for border security, allies in the Indo-Pacific and for Israel and Ukraine in their respective conflicts against Hamas and Russia.

Roughly $61 billion of that request covered money for Ukraine, which included $30 billion in equipment for Ukraine from Department of Defense stocks and to backfill those stocks.

The request for Ukraine is expected to cover 2024 and that underscores a tight deadline for the Ukrainian Armed Forces to make gains on the battlefield before pressure increases for Kyiv to negotiate with Moscow – amid waning public support in the U.S. and increasing Republican criticisms.

Nearly half of Americans, at 48 percent, think the U.S. is spending too much on aid for Ukraine, according to a poll conducted by The Financial Times-Michigan Ross.

It’s surprising to me the number is that low! Just 48% think the US is spending too much?!

Putin, waiting on elections results? Or Democratic party election rhetoric?

“Nowadays if anyone is willing to discuss with Putin, he won’t,” Jadwiga Emilewicz, the outgoing secretary of state for Polish-Ukrainian development cooperation, said in an interview last week.

Has anyone been willing to negotiate with the Russians? I’ve not seen anything like that.

“I think there might be [a] prediction in Moscow, if Trump wins the election, just for example, this war might come to an end because he’s willing to discuss with Putin as soon as possible,” Emilewicz explained.

Emilewicz, who was in Washington to advocate ongoing U.S. support for Ukraine, said that Kyiv officials are feeling pressure to scale back their ambitions from freeing all their territory under Russian occupation because of pressure from Washington and European governments.

“What’s in America’s best interest is to accept Ukraine is going to have to cede some territory to the Russians, and we need to bring this war to a close,” Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) said Sunday on CNN. “But when I think about the great human tragedy here, hundreds of thousands of Eastern Europeans innocent have been killed in this conflict. The thing that’s in our interest and in theirs is to stop the killing.

So, I agree with J.D. Vance’s statement above. Cede the territory, stop fighting and stop the endless killing. However we see the US playing the same role with Israel. Pushing for and supporting the war machine. Where negotiations should be primary. Where settlements need to be reached and stuck too. The US in both cases backs war. Death. Destruction.

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