Ukrainian minister confident US House will vote to support Ukraine

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KYIV – Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Monday he was confident the US House of Representatives, in turmoil for weeks over the Speaker’s job, would back a request for additional funds for Ukraine’s military.

“The main thing is the outcome – are there enough votes or not?” Mr Kuleba told Ukrainian national television.

“And at the moment, we have every reason to believe that there are votes in the US House of Representatives for the Bill providing Ukraine with additional support.”

Mr Kuleba said he was aware of “considerable political resistance” to the Bill’s provisions, and that it would be a “sin” for US lawmakers not to use the legislation to further their own interests.

The US House of Representatives last week elected Republican Mike Johnson, a conservative with little leadership experience, as Speaker, ending a turbulent three weeks that left the rudderless chamber unable to carry out any of its basic duties.

Mr Johnson said last week that funding to support Ukraine and Israel should be handled separately, suggesting he would not back President Joe Biden’s US$106 billion aid package for both countries.

Mr Johnson told Fox News he had concerns about Ukraine funding in general, and believed any money for Israel would need to be funded by cuts elsewhere.

Mr Biden wants Congress to provide US$106 billion in supplemental funding, with the bulk of the money going to bolster Ukraine’s defences and the remainder split among Israel, the Indo-Pacific and border enforcement.

Mr Johnson said he wanted to know “the end game” for Ukraine and that the White House had not provided that.

Mr Kuleba said he anticipated declarations from US politicians “that will cause irritation and induce panic,” but said that what mattered in the end was “the scoreboard.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video message on Monday that he had discussed continued US support at a meeting in Kyiv with a delegation of US members of Congress.

He said Ukraine had to prove that “freedom could overcome hatred and aggression … and for that we need unity – unity of all of Europe, unity in America, unity of the entire free world.” REUTERS

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