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4 Jan, 2024 06:27

Ukraine has no plan B if US stops aid – foreign minister

The White House has said it has no funds to offer Kiev following its latest aid package prior to new year
Ukraine has no plan B if US stops aid – foreign minister

Ukraine has no alternative to US aid in its conflict with Russia and must rely on Washington’s support, Kiev’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has admitted. He also called for additional weapons despite American lawmakers remaining deadlocked over a new arms package.

Speaking in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour published on Wednesday, Kuleba claimed that Western states have “sufficient resources” to meet Ukraine’s urgent requests for aid, saying efforts must be “stepped up and expedited.”

“All the West has to do is start believing in itself – in its capacity to prevail,” he said. “And of course, time matters. We cannot sit and wait [for] endless discussions on this matter. So we call on everyone to expedite the decisions that are pending, because the West has shown that it is capable of defending democracy.”

Asked whether Kiev had other options in the event that American largesse does not arrive on time, the Ukrainian FM answered in the negative, saying his country could only rely on US and allied support.

“We don't have a plan B. We are confident in plan A. Ukraine will always fight with the resources given to it. And...what is given to Ukraine is not charity. It's an investment in the protection of NATO and in the protection of the prosperity of the American people,” he said, citing recent remarks by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

Kuleba went on to note the ongoing debate in the US Congress over the next round of military aid, observing the dispute is “centered on the domestic issues of borders in the United States.” While the White House has asked lawmakers to pass a $61 billion aid package for Ukraine, some Republicans have vowed to block the measure unless Democrats agree to various border policy reforms. The legislation has been stalled for weeks, though independent US Senator Kyrsten Sinema said lawmakers are “closing in” on a deal, which could authorize billions in military aid for both Ukraine and Israel.

Earlier this week, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby acknowledged that Washington had provided the “last security assistance package that we have funds to support” just ahead of the new year, adding that any additional aid would have to be approved by Congress. 

“Absent supplemental funding, there's no other magical pot to dip into to try to get support for Ukraine,” Kirby added.

Kuleba did not deny that Ukraine is “rapidly burning through” Western arms and ammunition supplied earlier in the conflict, agreeing that Kiev is now seeking new air defense capabilities, combat drones of all types and long-range missiles, in addition to stepped-up sanctions on Russian officials and organizations.

The United States has authorized nearly $45 billion in direct military assistance to Ukraine since the conflict with Russia escalated in early 2022, in addition to other indirect military aid and financial and humanitarian assistance. Moscow has repeatedly condemned foreign arms shipments, arguing they would only prolong the fighting and do little to deter its military aims.