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4 Jan, 2024 21:40

US warns Ukraine it may not continue same levels of support

Washington will prop up Kiev for “as long as it takes,” but Kiev must ultimately become able to defend itself on its own
US warns Ukraine it may not continue same levels of support

The level of Washington’s military funding for Ukraine may ultimately decrease, particularly when the country becomes able to “stand on its own two feet,” US Department of State spokesman Matthew Miller said on Thursday.

Miller made the remarks during a regular press briefing, responding to a question on potential shifts in the US strategy on Ukraine. The spokesman insisted Washington had always sought for Ukraine to become able to defend itself on its own and ultimately be an “independent” nation.

“We’ve always made it clear that we want Ukraine to be an independent country; that means it can stand on its own two feet. But we will continue to support Ukraine, that’s the policy of the United States, as long as it takes,” Miller stated.

However, military funding for Kiev is destined to dry up at some point in the future, he warned. That moment has not arrived yet, Miller said, saying a new funding package for Kiev is needed.

“That does not mean that we are going to continue to support them at the same level of military funding that we did in 2022 and 2023. We don’t think that should be necessary because the goal is to ultimately transition Ukraine … to help Ukraine to build its own military industrial base so it can both finance and build and acquire munitions on its own,” the spokesman explained.

Miller said it was “critical” for the US Congress to adopt the supplementary funding bill for Kiev, as it’s most pressing for Ukraine and its other supporters in the West. The bill was left in limbo after Congress shelved it late last year, postponing discussions for after the holiday break, following weeks of back-and-forth between the legislators, who failed to agree on the matter.

The bill has been met with strong opposition from multiple Republican lawmakers, who want to tie  overseas funding to domestic issues, namely tackling illegal migration and reinforcing the US’ own border.

At the same time, another major donor – the EU – has also experienced difficulties with allocating new funding for Ukraine. A planned four-year scheme worth some €50 billion ($55 billion) ended up vetoed by Hungary late last year, with deliberations on it pushed into 2024.

The remarks from Miller come as the total value of Western aid for Kiev surpassed $200 billion, according to Moscow’s estimates. The Russian Defense Ministry has published statistics detailing the aid supplied to Ukraine by some 54 countries, with the total costs estimated to be over $203 billion already.

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