A last chance call for kyiv? The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is going to Washington this Monday where he hopes to obtain the release for his country at war of a capital envelope. The United States remains the largest military supporter of kyiv, but Democratic President Joe Biden’s promise to continue financial support to Ukraine is in serious jeopardy.
The US Congress failed to vote last week a component of more than 61 billion dollars for this country at war. Volodymyr Zelensky then hopes to increase pressure on the American ally with his visit. The Ukrainian head of state will deliver a speech to a university in the US capital at midday, alongside US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin. But Tuesday will undoubtedly be the most crucial day of his trip.
More than $110 billion since February 2022
Early this morning, Volodymyr Zelensky will visit the US Congress, which has committed more than $110 billion since the Russian invasion in February 2022, but has not voted for a new envelope since last December. He will be received early in the morning by the leaders of the Senate, Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Mitch McConnell – two supporters of aid to Ukraine.
After a speech to all the senators, he will meet the president of the other chamber of this powerful institution, Republican speaker Mike Johnson. The latter says he is in principle open to releasing new funds for kyiv, but must deal with the most Trumpist fringe of his party, which has already made it known that it will no longer validate a single cent for kyiv.
Divisions within the Republican camp
“I will continue to vote AGAINST sending taxpayers’ money to corrupt oligarchs in Ukraine,” said Republican elected official Mary Miller on the X platform (formerly Twitter) Monday.
With Zelensky coming to DC this week to ask for more money, I will continue to vote AGAINST sending your tax $$ to corrupt oligarchs in Ukraine for a proxy war that could have ended in ’22.
A peace deal was on the table that 🇺🇦 and 🇷🇺 were both ready to sign, but Biden said NO.
— Rep. Mary Miller (@RepMaryMiller) December 11, 2023
The challenge is therefore to convince enough moderate conservatives to support a new envelope. In return, these elected officials demand major changes in United States migration policy. President Joe Biden said he was ready to make “significant compromises” on this point, but negotiations are slipping at the moment.
“Urgent needs of Ukraine”
After his discussions in Congress, Volodymyr Zelensky will go to the White House where he will speak with his American counterpart. “The two leaders will discuss the urgent needs of Ukraine and the vital importance of continued support from the United States at this critical moment,” said Joe Biden spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre.
Aware that the sense of emergency has faded in Washington since the start of the war, President Biden asked Congress to combine his request for aid for Ukraine with a for Israel, a US ally at war with Hamas, of around 14 billion. But the atmosphere has changed a lot since then Volodymyr Zelensky’s first visit to the American capital in December 2022, received with great fanfare in the capital and a standing ovation in Congress.