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19 Nov, 2023 07:36

Ukraine must brace for loss of US support – ex-ambassador

Republican opposition is complicating White House efforts to support the country’s military, Valeriy Chaly has said
Ukraine must brace for loss of US support – ex-ambassador

Valeriy Chaly, Kiev’s former envoy to Washington, has said that Ukraine should brace for a potential political crisis in the US that could undermine further military assistance to the embattled nation.

In an interview with Espresso TV Channel this week, Chaly, who served as Ukraine’s ambassador to the US between 2015 and 2019, weighed in on a recent visit by a Ukrainian delegation to Washington that sought to lobby the US Congress for more financial support to Kiev. According to the diplomat, Ukraine has found itself in a precarious situation.

“Out of the three scenarios that we’ve been talking about for a long time, our government has for some reason considered the most optimistic scenario, and what is happening now is actually the worst-case scenario,” he told the Ukrainian broadcaster.

Chaly pointed to concerns that Republicans, led by new House Speaker Mike Johnson, would delay providing aid to Kiev. “We don’t know what will happen next. It is already clear that there will be a decrease,” he added.

Still, the envoy said he was sure that the West would not pull the plug on Ukraine aid in the near future. “I expect that this level of support will not decrease drastically until summer,” Chaly said, recalling that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has a financial plan for Kiev at least until next July.

“But now we have to think about the fall of next year when the US will most likely enter a political crisis when it will be difficult for us to close the budget for the year,” the diplomat said.

Last month, US President Joe Biden asked Congress to approve a $106 billion aid package that focused mainly on Ukraine and Israel. However, many Republicans argued against the “blank check” policy on Ukraine and said they wanted to treat the two issues separately.

On Friday, Biden signed a temporary spending bill to avert a government shutdown that included no additional funding for Israel and Ukraine.

Since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, the US has provided more than $44 billion in military assistance, with the White House recently warning that available funds were running out amid the congressional gridlock.

Russia has repeatedly warned the West against supplying Ukraine with arms, arguing that this would only prolong hostilities and make it a direct participant in the conflict.