President Zelensky’s second trip to Washington since the launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has proven far tougher than the first, as he won warm words of support and weapons from Joe Biden but faced skeptical Republicans who want to cut off aid.

The missiles

One of the most important – and disappointing – outcomes for Ukraine is that a new aid package announced by Biden does not include the long-requested ATACMS missiles that Kyiv had been hoping for.

Ukrainian officials had been confident that Washington was close to announcing it would finally provide the missiles that can strike up to 300 kilometers (190 miles) away.

Earlier this month Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to Zelensky, said: “Yes, we are talking about it …  In every conversation with [US national security adviser] Jake Sullivan this question arises.

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“They understand [ATACMS] are very much needed. I believe it will be agreed and very, very soon.”

Alas, they are not part of the latest aid package. It is assumed this is because of fears that Ukraine could use the enhanced capability to attack targets on Russian territory.

The message

Zelensky and Biden presented a strong, united front, with Biden saying: “We’re with you and we’re staying with you.”

In response, Zelensky said Ukraine “has exactly what our soldiers need” after Biden announced the new package of US military aid.

Ukraine Will Receive US Aid, Well-Known Republicans in Kyiv Assure
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Ukraine Will Receive US Aid, Well-Known Republicans in Kyiv Assure

US Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Ukraine must be victorious over Russia. Pompeo sought to assuage fears that a Trump presidency would hurt Ukraine.

Biden added that there was “no alternative” to backing the Ukraine funding, adding that he was “counting on the good judgment of the United States Congress.”

Speaking later at the National Archives, Zelensky said: “I assured President Biden that we in Ukraine will not give up and he assured me that America will be with us, as long as it takes.”

The reality

But behind the visuals – firm handshakes across a grand cabinet table and shows of solidarity in the Oval Office – lay the fact that Zelensky’s second wartime trip to Washington was far tougher than the first, AFP reports.

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Where Zelensky received a hero’s welcome when he visited in December, this time he spent his closed-door meetings in the US Congress desperately trying to overcome growing war fatigue from Republicans.

Hardline Republicans are threatening to block Democrat Biden’s request for a fresh $24 billion aid package for Ukraine, and it has now become caught up in a bitter spending battle that could spark a US government shutdown.

 

Wooing Congress

The key part of Zelensky’s visit was arguably to a deeply divided Congress. The pro-Trump faction dominating the Republican Party is increasingly adamant that the aid spigot should be turned off, with Congress having already approved $100 billion in aid to date, including $43 billion in weaponry.

On Capitol Hill, Zelensky got a notably discreet welcome from the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, who is having trouble keeping a lid on internal party squabbling over US spending in Ukraine.

Some Republicans say the money could be better spent on US border security, while there are also concerns about the pace of Kyiv’s counteroffensive and that corruption in Ukraine means the money will go to waste.

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The doubts are being fueled by messaging from former president and likely 2024 candidate Donald Trump, who has opposed more funding and frequently expressed admiration for Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

It’s a trend that has also reached parts of the generally more pro-Ukraine Republicans in the Senate, where Senator Roger Marshall from Kansas said Congress should not be “sending another blank check to Zelensky.”

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer from New York, a major supporter of Biden’s pro-Ukraine policies, said Zelensky had told him “if we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war.”

The positives

Disappointment over ATACMS aside, there were of course positive developments for Ukraine.

Biden said the first US M1 Abrams tanks will arrive in Ukraine “next week,” boosting Kyiv’s forces as they battle Russian troops in a slow-moving counteroffensive.

The latest US package would also strengthen Ukraine’s air defense capability, crucial at a time when the country faces repeated Russian missile and drone attacks.

The Pentagon later valued the package at $325 million. It includes air defense missiles, ammunition for HIMARS precision rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons, and artillery rounds.

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In Washington, the Ukrainian leader arrived right after another wave of Russian missile strikes, hitting cities across the country and killing at least three people in Kherson and wounding many in other areas.

Zelensky thanked Biden for the “vital assistance provided by the United States to combat Russian terror, really terror.”

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Comments (6)

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ST
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So tired to read the shit you write Maddy.

Yes, the lack of success on the battlefield
have you even read or understood the news,
that your overlord Putin and his troops are
being pushed back.

As a propagandist... you are lousy...
but I know the truth is very hard to grasp
for pro-russian supporters.

you will eat every word you ever said,
anyone on pro-russian side is on the wrong
side of history!

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Joseph Swanson
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Here's what you REALLY need to know:
The wasp committed quite possibly the greatest land theft in history by forcibly taking land from Indigenous people.
The wasp then continued to illegally emigrate to this land, eventually calling this land the 13 colonies.
The wasp then had a civil war with their own family from Britain. Begging and pleading with various European powers to help them become "free and independent." Fortunately for them, there were no trumps or mccarthys in Spain, Poland, or Germany at the time.
The wasp has a long cultural history of oppressing and taking the lands of others by force and making all sorts of excuses for it that makes no sense in reality. Look how the US treats its national minorities...the African by enslaving them...even to this day, the Hispanic...through economic enslavement / used as a source of cheap labor, the Muslim...portraying and treating every Muslim as a terrorist, having interned in concentration camps in the US it's German Americans twice and seizing their assets which the US gov. still has not yet apologized for, the internment of Japanese Americans once, the internment of Italian & Spanish Americans, the deliberate segregation of Indigenous people on "reserves." The portrayal of Slavic Americans as being "slow." The portrayal of lgbtqpi people as "mentally ill."
Dealing with the wasp, the russian, the communist...is the same as dealing with the devil.

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Joseph Swanson
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AMERICAN CHRIS Guest • 2 hours ago
" It is normal to ask questions and make requirements such as a special Inspector General to account for use of funds."It is normal?  Normal to account?  Unless those nations are Israel and Taiwan, both have received BILLIONS over decades of US taxpayer money WITHOUT the same demand of ?account for funds."By the way, the funds to my nation are accounted for "American Chris."  You should know this IF you really are American.  The accounting of funds is widely available in your nation and is publicized.Insistence on "accounting for funds" when already known and public only proves there must be an additional accounting for...an  IQ requirement for everything and anything and for all in the United States.

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TM
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Trump would have sold out Ukraine.
Trump is not a good guy.

I don't trust people who voted for
Trump or think he is a saviour.

He is a conman and a clear and present danger
to United States and the rest of the world.

This is my opinion.

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American Chris
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I voted for Mr. Trump twice and I will likely vote for him again, and I strongly support Ukraine. I am mad the Biden Administration has refused critical weapons to Ukraine. If given early the war would be over. Congressional overwatch of spending is it's #1 job. It is normal to ask questions and make requirements such as a special Inspector General to account for use of funds.

My point is most American conservatives, in the tradition of President Reagan, want an aggressive Russia stopped. It is an American National Security imperative.

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David
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Accountability is a 2 way street.
The US Republicans intending to question Ukraine would do well to start by examining the US share of the overall accountability for how the war was handled.
Perhaps they should consider modelling what progress the US military might have made against Russia under exactly the same circumstances and constraints they imposed on Ukraine.
In such circumstances there would have been enormous uproar in Congress over 100,000 plus unnecessary US casualties, partly due to the insufficient, and mostly phased out, outdated, second hand, (some very poorly refurbished and non-functional) weapons systems delivered far behind actual battlefield needs dictated solely by Russian initiatives and capabilities.
All this with more than 10:1 disadvantage in artillery shell stocks, and almost no initial capability to resist Russian Naval and Air Power .
Another point to be looked into is the inflated prices assigned to second hand refurbished equipment, some of it discovered entirely non-functional upon arrival in Ukriane.
Finally, to be fair, its time to compare and discount US dollar figures against corresponding purchase price parity on the Russian, Iranian and North Korean side.

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