White House warns of Ukraine aid chain reaction
Washington’s European allies may stop sending weapons to Ukraine if US lawmakers continue to delay the passage of President Joe Biden’s latest aid proposal to help Kiev try to fight Russian forces, the White House has warned.
”It’s entirely possible; we should expect that some of our allies and partners might have to make different decisions if they see American leadership falter here, or the United States pull back from supporting Ukraine,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday. “And that would have potentially disastrous consequences for Ukraine.”
Kirby made his comments as Republican lawmakers continued to balk at passing Biden’s $106 billion emergency spending proposal, which includes $61.4 billion for Ukraine. The Biden administration confirmed earlier this month that it had run out of money for Kiev after burning through $113 billion in previously approved aid packages. The disruption in support from Kiev’s biggest benefactor comes at a time when Russian forces are ramping up airstrikes against Ukraine’s defense infrastructure.
”The next couple of months are going to be critical for Ukraine,” Kirby said. “I mean, if you think that the fighting’s just gonna stop because the snow is falling, think again. The Russians continue to fire drones and missiles at Ukraine. While the battlefront hasn’t moved a lot on either side, there’s still a lot of active fighting going on there.”
The White House spokesman lamented that Ukrainian commanders have to make difficult decisions about their use of munitions “because they don’t know when the next shipment is going to come.” He added, “That’s a horrible place to put the Ukrainian military in, as the Russians certainly aren’t suffering under that same uncertainty as they reach out to North Korea for ballistic missiles and, by the way, continue to fire them, and drones from Iran, and producing [weapons] on their own.”
Biden is “mindful” that allies and adversaries alike -- including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping – are watching Washington’s maneuvering on Ukraine aid, Kirby said. “They’re watching closely what we do because American leadership has been critical in supporting Ukraine. We have literally led the way not only in the contributions, but in the coordination of the contributions of other nations to get stuff into Ukraine.”
Critics of Biden’s Ukraine policy have argued that the US is merely prolonging the conflict and getting more people killed, without offering a plan to end the bloodshed. After meeting with Biden last week, US House Speaker Mike Johnson said the president still hadn’t provided answers “about the strategy, about the end game” in Ukraine.
Kirby argued that the White House has been “nothing but clear” about the administration’s aims in Ukraine. “We want Ukraine to win this war, as the president has said. We want a whole, prosperous, sovereign Ukraine. We want Ukraine’s borders, internationally established borders, to be fully recognized by everybody, and that includes Mr. Putin.”