President Volodymyr Zelensky is redoubling his diplomatic outreach to Europe in the hopes of starting to fill the void left by months of American indecision, as the debate over providing renewed military assistance for Ukraine continues to play out in Washington.
The Ukrainian leader was quick to praise the bipartisan group of U.S. senators who approved $60 billion in assistance for his nation at a moment when Ukrainian soldiers are struggling with a shortage of weapons and ammunition, saying “continued U.S. assistance helps to save human lives from Russian terror.”
Reaction across the Ukrainian political spectrum was similar — seeking to express gratitude to those who are standing by the government in Kyiv, while being cautious not to say anything that could in any way jeopardize the debate going forward. The aid package must still make it through the Republican-led House, where the speaker, Mike Johnson, said he would ignore it.
“We hope that as a result of constructive debate and dialogue, the bill will also receive bipartisan support and be adopted in the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Olena Kondratyuk, the vice speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament. “We need this support to continue to fight for our freedom and independence. A clear message must also be sent to the aggressor country of Russia about the unity of the democratic world and the continued U.S. leadership in providing comprehensive assistance to Ukraine.”
But Ukrainians are keenly aware that the bill will face stiff resistance from a powerful faction of Republicans encouraged by former President Donald J. Trump to kill the bill. So the Zelensky government is also increasingly turning to friends closer to home.A senior Ukrainian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal diplomatic discussions, said that a victory in Ukraine by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia “would be disastrous for Europe.”
“It could lead to him expanding his aggression into other countries in the region,” the official said of Mr. Putin. “Europeans understand this, and it motivates them to act despite the turmoil across the Atlantic.”
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