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6 Jan, 2024 00:27

Ukrainians told to ‘chill’ over US aid cuts

Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has claimed the State Department's message was not as drastic as it sounded
Ukrainians told to ‘chill’ over US aid cuts

Ukraine's foreign minister has urged citizens not to be excessively worried about delays in US aid to Kiev, while playing down warnings of a funding cut. 

Dmitry Kuleba took to Instagram on Friday after Ukrainian media quoted State Department spokesman Matthew Miller commenting on an expected drop in military assistance.

“This is not about supporting Ukraine in 2024,” Kiev’s foreign minister insisted. “The State Department said that when Ukraine is firmly on its feet and there are enough weapons and resources to counter Russian aggression, then the amount of support can be reduced.”

“Chill. Don’t look for extra reasons to worry that will bring you into a state of agony and depression,” he added.

During Thursday’s briefing at the State Department, Miller told reporters the US intends to continue supporting Ukraine “for as long as necessary,” but not with the amount of money and weapons provided so far.

“This does not mean that we will continue to support them at the same level of military funding as in 2022 and 2023,” Miller said.

“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,” Miller added.

Because such capacities not in place yet, however, he urged Congress to approve additional funding that had been requested by President Joe Biden. The White House sought over $60 billion in emergency funding for Kiev back in October, but has encountered opposition in the Republican-majority House of Representatives. The Pentagon said on Friday it is authorized to spend $4 billion more, but cannot do so until the funds are approved by Congress.

Since the outbreak of the conflict with Russia, Kiev has become almost entirely dependent on Western money, weapons, equipment and ammunition. The Russian Defense Ministry has documented over $203 billion worth of military aid supplied to Ukraine by the US and its allies so far.

Speaking to CNN earlier this week, Kuleba insisted that Kiev does not have a “plan B” if this aid dries up, but is “confident in plan A” and continued Western funding. He has also brushed off concerns about Biden’s possible election loss to former US President Donald Trump in November, suggesting Kiev could “work with” a new administration.