Ukrainian officials have expressed “shock” over Republican suggestions that future assistance for Kyiv could be limited if the party wins the 1–louse of Representatives in November’s US midterm elections, calling on Washington to continue providing bipartisan support.
In comments that raised eyebrows, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said earlier this week he anticipates difficulty in passing additional aid for Ukraine, should his party win the lower chamber of Congress — a result predicted by current polling.
“I think people are going to be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank cheque to Ukraine,” McCarthy told Punchbowl News.
David Arakhamia, head of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s party in parliament, told the Financial Times on Wednesday: “We were shocked to hear these comments of Mr McCarthy, honestly.”
He added that he met with McCarthy on a recent visit to Washington and was led to believe that US support for Kyiv would continue.
“Just a few weeks ago, our delegation visited the US and had a meeting with Mr
McCarthy,” Arakhamia said. “We were assured that bipartisan support of Ukraine in its war with Russia will remain a top priority even if they win in the elections. ”
Oleg Nikolenko, spokesperson for Ukraine’s foreign ministry, added that Kyiv was counting on “continued bipartisan support” from the US for its role in the conflict.
The US Congress has passed billions of dollars in assistance for Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict, most recently a $12.3bn package as part of a larger spending bill meant to avert a government shutdown.
But partisan divisions have surfaced over the issue: in May, 11 Republican senators and 57 House Republicans opposed a $40bn security assistance request for Ukraine. Lawmakers and analysts expect Republican dissent to increase in the next Congress, particularly as the 2024 general election approaches.
The Biden administration has said that while they expect the conflict will eventually end at the negotiating table, officials see no immediate prospect for discussions and will continue to provide lethal aid to strengthen Ukraine’s hand.