President Zelensky has said he is worried about the prospect of continuing political turmoil in the US affecting support for Ukraine, saying on Thursday he has been assured of President Biden's backing, but acknowledging that it was a “difficult election period for the United States.” 

Despite the assurances, Biden himself admitted on Wednesday he was worried that the ongoing crisis could threaten US aid to Ukraine, urging Republicans to stop their infighting and back what he described as “critically important” assistance for Kyiv.

But on the streets of Kyiv, people are perhaps surprisingly calm about the situation.

“The situation is nine out of ten,” 18-year-old Ilia tells Kyiv Post. “Everything is more than fine so far.

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“But there are people who see every little thing as something huge. Americans don't owe us anything and give us as much as they think we need. And we are grateful.”

Over the weekend, a last-gasp deal in Congress to avoid a US government shutdown contained no fresh funding for Ukraine. Hopes of a quick resolution were then further complicated by the ousting of Republican House speaker Kevin McCarthy by hardliners in his own party.

Those in the running to replace him hold a range of views but among them is hard-right Republican Jim Jordan, who has been notably skeptical about funds for Ukraine, AFP reports.

Blue and Yellow – Colors of Ukrainian Statehood
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Blue and Yellow – Colors of Ukrainian Statehood

On July 24, 1990, the hitherto banned blue-and-yellow flag of Ukraine was raised at Kyiv City Hall, making its first official appearance thirteen months before Ukraine gained its independence.

The timing is critical, with the White House warning that aid could run out within months just as Ukraine tries to push forward in its slow-moving offensive against Russia before winter sets in.

The general view from those Kyiv Post spoke to is that the issue is an internal US one rather than a damning indictment of waning US support for Ukraine.

“I think the people of America fully support Ukraine, and as the elections approach, the competition between Democrats and Republicans is growing,” 43-year-old businessman Andriy, tells Kyiv Post.

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“It is obvious that the Republicans want to control the amount and use of aid to Ukraine and Democrats are interested in showing that the funds are used effectively.

“So, this discussion is normal for a democratic country and a democratic institution - there are always different opinions there. In such a discussion, the truth will be born.”

Interior designer Tetiana, said: "I think the US has a lot of its own issues that they cannot solve themselves. And now, perhaps, they are more interested in their own issues. But I don't think we will lose this help."

This sentiment is echoed by pensioners Ihor and Irina who said “everything will stabilize soon.”

“I think there are some political undercurrents, they are everywhere,” added Ihor. “I think these are temporary difficulties.”

The optimism in Kyiv is in contrast to the change of tone from the White House in recent days – on Tuesday Biden had told allies in a call he was “confident” of getting fresh aid passed.

Just a day later, when asked whether the ousting of McCarthy by hardliners in his own party could derail more funds for Ukraine's war effort, he replied: “It does worry me. 

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The views of hardline Republicans calling for cuts to aid for Ukraine have percolated through to the residents of Kyiv, though they have a simple solution to solve the issues.

“Bring those Republicans to Kherson or to Tokmak for a tour,” says Ihor. “I think the questions will be removed after that.”

Andriy concurs, saying: “By cutting aid to Ukraine, Republicans can help ensure that the U.S. military will eventually stand up and defend democratic values.

“Let them come to Ukraine and think about whether it is better to give the Ukrainian army and people aid or to fund their own army in the confrontation with the coalition of forces that oppose America and democracy, including China, India, Brazil, Russia and others.”

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