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20 Dec, 2023 20:08

US has a ‘clear plan’ for Ukraine’s future – Blinken

The top diplomat says Washington aims to ensure that continued financial support for Kiev will not be necessary
US has a ‘clear plan’ for Ukraine’s future – Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that Washington has a clear strategy for the future of Ukraine but warned that financial support is wearing thin as an aid package stalls in Congress.

Speaking at his end-of-year press conference at the State Department on Wednesday, Blinken said that 2023 has been “a year of profound tests” as Washington attempts to navigate a series of global challenges in Ukraine, Gaza, and elsewhere.

But as signs grow, particularly among Republicans, that US enthusiasm to continue to support Ukraine in its near two-year conflict with Russia is waning, Blinken told reporters that Washington has a concerted strategy for the future of the country.

“We have a very clear plan,” he said, “to make sure that Ukraine can stand on its own two feet – militarily, economically, democratically – so that these levels of support and assistance will no longer be necessary.”

The first of which, he suggested, was to free up additional financial aid for Ukraine so that Kiev can meet its immediate challenges. “We have to help Ukraine get through the next period of time, get through this winter, get through the spring and summer,” Blinken said.

He added: “I’m also focused on the fact that they have their own plans to continue.”

Pressure from Democrats, and even Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, has so far failed to persuade Republicans in Congress to rubber-stamp a $50 billion military aid package for Kiev. Dissenting voices in the legislature have insisted that the White House agree on border security provisions as a condition of the deal.

Without approval from Congress, Blinken warned that financial aid will rapidly dwindle. “There is no magic pot we can draw from,” he said. “The assistance, the support that we have designated for Ukraine that is running out, that is running down. We are nearly out of money. And we’re running out of time.”

Blinken also stated that the US will continue efforts to encourage other countries to provide further support for Kiev, and ensure that Russia’s operation is a “strategic failure.”