Frustration for Zelensky as Republicans divided over aid to Ukraine ahead of midterms

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    The Republican leaders in the House of Representatives claimed that Congress would not “write a blank cheque to Ukraine” once his party comes to the power after next month’s midterm elections, a news report has stated. The statement has instilled fears in Kyiv of a possible cut-off in the flow of military equipment.

    Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, told the Punchbowl News website on Tuesday: “I think people are going to be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank cheque to Ukraine.

    “They just won’t do it. It’s not a free blank cheque. And then there’s the things [the Biden administration] is not doing domestically: not doing the border and people begin to weigh that.

    “Ukraine is important, but at the same time it can’t be the only thing they do, and it can’t be a blank cheque.”

    A statement by the US state government outlined the amout invested in Ukraine: “Approximately $17.6billion since Russia’s launched its premeditated, unprovoked, and brutal war against Ukraine on February 24.

    “Since 2014, the United States has provided more than $19.6billion in security assistance for training and equipment to help Ukraine preserve its territorial integrity, secure its borders, and improve interoperability with NATO.”

    It further stated: “As of September 9, 2022, nearly 50 Allies and partner countries have provided security assistance to Ukraine.

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    “Among their many contributions to Ukraine, Allies and partners have delivered 10 long-range Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 178 long-range artillery systems, nearly 100,000 rounds of long-range artillery ammunition, nearly 250,000 anti-tank munitions, 359 tanks, 629 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), 8,214 short-range air defense missiles, and 88 lethal UAVs.

    “Since February 24, Allies and partners worldwide have provided or committed over $13billion in security assistance.”

    However, contradicting the view shared by Mr McCarthy, a senior Republican told Guardian that he thought that the Ukrainians should “get what they need”, including longer-range missiles than those the Biden administration has so far been prepared to supply.

    A few hours later, the ranking Republican on the House foreign affairs committee, Michael McCaul, who is likely to run the committee in the event of a Republican win in November, argued that arms supplies to Ukraine should be stepped up.

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    McCaul said on the Bloomberg television channel: “We’ve got to give them what they need. When we give them what they need, they win.”

    He was particularly referring to the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which has a longer range than the missiles the administration is currently providing.

    The Biden administration has withheld ATACMS so far for fear that if they were fired into Russian territory it might lead to a sharp escalation that could end up entangling NATO.

    Mr McCaul argued that the missiles would be useful for striking Russian missile and drone launching sites in Crimea, adding: “Last time I checked, Crimea is occupied illegally by Russians.”

    McCaul did add a caveat on US spending on Ukrainian aid, however.

    He said: “I think you’ll see if we get the majority, more oversight and accountability in terms of funding and where the money’s going, and I think the American taxpayer deserves that.”



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