Oct 3, 2023 - World

Biden calls allies as anxiety grows over future of U.S. aid to Ukraine

Biden in the Oval Office in December 2021. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden in a conference call Tuesday morning stressed to the leaders of nearly a dozen U.S. allies and partners that he is committed to continue giving military assistance to Ukraine as long as it takes, according to the White House.

Why it matters: There are mounting fears among America's allies, particularly in Europe, that the U.S. may stop providing aid to Ukraine amid opposition from a growing number of Republicans in Congress.

Driving the news: The continuing resolution Congress passed Saturday funded the U.S. government until mid-November, but didn't include additional money for military assistance to Kyiv.

  • Since then, Biden officials have scrambled to reassure U.S. allies that the assistance to Ukraine will continue.

Details: Tuesday's call — the first such conference call since the beginning of Russia's invasion last year — included the leaders or foreign ministers of Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, the U.K., France, the European Commission, European Council and NATO.

  • On Sunday and Monday, Biden administration officials at various levels also spoke with their counterparts in Europe and in NATO member states, reiterating Biden's weekend comments that U.S. aid will continue.
  • One European diplomat said Biden's team has told allies that it's working on an agreement with Congress to allow continued military aid to Ukraine.

What they're saying: White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters later Tuesday that time "is not our friend."

  • Kirby said that there is currently enough funding left to continue sending assistance to Kyiv for a bit longer, but he stressed that Congress must act to make sure there is no disruption to U.S. support moving forward.
  • When pressed on how long before aid would run out, he said a "few weeks or a few months." He added the exact timeline is difficult to know because it depends on Ukraine's needs.
  • He said Biden expects House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to uphold his public commitments to support Ukraine. Biden told U.S. allies that he believes there will be bipartisan support for continuing aid to Ukraine, Kirby said.
  • Kirby also warned that any disruption would embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This story has been updated with Kirby's comments.

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