The US government has warned of dire consequences for Ukraine if Congress does not soon approve new funding for the Russian-hit country. Western allies need to know that the US is on Ukraine’s side, James O’Brien, the US State Department’s European affairs director, told a Senate committee on Wednesday.
O’Brien said that if the U.S. stops giving money to Ukraine in the future, allies should ask themselves whether their efforts are sufficient and whether they should continue. A domestic political dispute between Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress has currently blocked the release of new US aid to Ukraine.
During the hearing, O’Brien also referred to a statement by Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin. A month ago he said Ukraine was artificially kept alive by Western billions in aid and arms supplies. “Imagine if the deliveries ended tomorrow, it would only survive for a week,” Putin said at the time. That’s what’s at stake now in terms of additional US support, O’Brien warned the group.
Erin McGee of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) made it clear that without additional funding, humanitarian aid to Ukraine would have to be cut significantly. USAID has already completely exhausted its funding for humanitarian assistance. “In view of the continued enormous demand, additional resources are important,” he stressed.
If Congress doesn’t approve the new funding, McGee said U.S. partners in Ukraine must cut the number of people receiving humanitarian assistance by up to 75 percent or halt humanitarian programs altogether.
National Security Council communications director John Kirby said at a White House press conference that more than 90 percent of the U.S. funding approved for Ukraine so far has been used. The Defense Ministry has only one billion US dollars (about 933 million euros) to replenish the Pentagon’s stocks.
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