A top US official said Wednesday that Washington could not predict when a vital $60-billion military aid package for Ukraine would be passed, as a fresh round of aerial bombardments killed civilians in both Russia and Ukraine.

Kyiv's army is facing manpower and ammunition shortages on the battlefield amid political wrangling in the US Congress that has raised uncertainty over the future of Western support.

Addressing the stalled aid bill while on a visit to Kyiv on Wednesday, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said: "It has already taken too long. And I know that, you know that."

"I'm not going to make predictions about exactly when this will get done, but we are working to get it done as soon as possible... but I cannot make a specific prediction today," he told reporters at a press conference in the Ukrainian capital.


Republicans in the US House of Representatives have been blocking a sweeping aid package since last year, with the funding caught up in domestic arguments over President Joe Biden's immigration policies.

Washington is Ukraine's most important military backer and has provided tens of billions of dollars in support since Moscow invaded in February 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said aid delays cost Ukrainian lives and territory.

- 'Get that money' -

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Tuesday that he was shocked the package of aid has not yet been unlocked.

Sullivan said Wednesday that despite the hold-ups he was "confident" the impasse would be overcome.

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After months of partisan infighting, the United States House of Representatives finally approved the major package in a vote Saturday, giving a morale boost to Ukrainian forces.

"We will get that money out the door," he said.

Both Moscow and Kyiv said civilians had been killed in aerial barrages Wednesday.

And President Vladimir Putin vowed to restore security to Russia's border regions following a sharp increase in attacks over the past two weeks.

Kyiv has launched a barrage of drone and missile strikes on the Russian border regions of Belgorod and Kursk, and pro-Ukrainian paramilitaries have attempted armed raids into Russian territory.

Fresh attacks on Belgorod killed three civilians Wednesday, the Russian governor said.


In Ukraine, a Russian missile strike on Kharkiv killed at least five and injured eight, Ukrainian governor Oleg Synegubov said.

"The Russian armed forces launched a missile attack … Rescue and firefighting operations are underway. There are still people under the rubble," the Kharkiv regional prosecutor's office said in a statement on Telegram.

- 'Massive strikes' -

Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, lies close to the Russian border, and has also seen increased attacks as Moscow's invasion moves into its third year.

The city's police force said an eight-storey building and a factory were hit at around 1:00 pm local time (1100 GMT).

Directly across the border in Russia's Belgorod region, the governor said multiple attacks had killed three people.

"Since early morning, the Graivoron district has come under massive strikes, including with the use of multiple rocket launcher systems," Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said Wednesday in a post on Telegram.

Two people were killed there, and another man was killed in the regional capital, also called Belgorod, when shrapnel from a shelling attack hit his car, Gladkov said.


Some schools would shift to remote learning, a day after he ordered 9,000 children to be evacuated from areas closest to the Ukrainian border, he added.

Drone, rocket and shelling attacks on the region escalated earlier this month ahead of Russia's presidential elections.

- 'Victory' -

In Moscow, Putin vowed he would restore order to the border regions, as the fallout from his invasion continues to spill into Russian territory.

"The first thing is of course to ensure security. There are different ways, they are not easy, but we will do them," he said, without elaborating.

Speaking inside the Kremlin's gilded Andreyev Hall, Putin also said his win in a weekend presidential vote in which he faced no competition would be followed by success on the battlefield.

"Victory in the elections is just a prologue to those victories that Russia so badly needs and that will definitely come," he said.

Russian forces have secured their first territorial gains in almost a year and this week claimed to have made further advances in the eastern Donetsk region.

Ukraine also reported civilian fatalities in areas close to the fighting on Wednesday.

In the south of the country, Russian shelling killed two people outside the city of Kherson and in the east, another two were killed near Vugledar in the Donetsk region.

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Comments (3)

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The free world remains unsure whether the USA is unwilling or unable to deal with the aid stalling MRGA party in the US House. US aid to date has been greatly appreciated yay Ukraine, but Presidential words without administrative action these days have limited impact.

Perhaps their two party political system was weaker than allies thought and the KGB has exploited this. Perhaps it now only takes a few despot aligned plants (with a lie and hate motivated cult following), in one party to stop the entire US government dead in its tracks. Apparently this congress has been the least productive in US history when it comes to new legislation passed ...lots has been tabled...but seldom is majority consensus reached. In the absence of a single party having a majority in both the Senate and House, it seems the USA system can barely tread water, let alone follow through on global promises.

I still think helping Ukraine defeat putlers' forces is the best way to help the USA fight its internal battle against its MRGA infestation. When putin's regime can no longer write cheques, the MRGA's funding and thus movement loses its momentum.

We must pressure our own democratic governments to step up their Ukraine support, before his oppressive greed can expand beyond their borders.

No more hold back of our remaining weapons or forces! If putler starts WWIII just so he can steal another country so be it.

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Thanks America for the support at the beginning of this war, you tried to keep your end of the security guarantee as agreed by Bill Clinton in the Budapest Memorandum. But now it's clear that America won't be able to keep up their end of that agreement. It should be seen as a sign by other nations that America can fail them in their time of need and that they need to start developing their own weapons and nuclear capabilities.

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What’s happening with the discharge petition that was supposed to force a floor vote in the House on the $95 billion support package, including the $61 billion for Ukraine? I thought that was going to be used in the event that Mike Johnson keeps dragging this out. Well, he’s kicked the can down the road past April 8 now, it seems. When is it time to bring on the discharge petition?