Biden tells Japan, European allies Ukraine support will continue after Republicans block funding
WASHINGTON – U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with the leaders of allied countries, the European Union and the NATO military alliance on Tuesday, reiterating America’s support for Ukraine and warning that a drop in support could embolden Russia and cause wider conflict.
The call included the leaders of Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, Britain and France, as well as the heads of NATO, the European Commission and the European Council, who also discussed Ukraine’s economic recovery and food security issues, the White House said.
“President Biden made clear we cannot, under any circumstances, allow America’s support for Ukraine to be interrupted,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.
The United States has enough committed funding to meet Ukraine’s battlefield needs “for a bit longer” but it needs Congressional help to offer this support uninterrupted, he said. Pressed on a timeline, Kirby said the United States has “a couple of months or so” of military supplies.
Kirby echoed Biden’s earlier criticism of a small group of House Republicans who have blocked Ukraine funding, noting that most Republicans stand behind the country.
“Such a lapse in support will make (Russian President Vladimir) Putin believe that he can now wait us out and that he can continue the conflict until we and our allies and partners fold,” Kirby said. It will also hand Putin a win, he said.
“If we just walk away from Ukraine, we basically confirm his lie. We basically say to him, ‘Yeah, you know what? You’re right, Putin, you were wronged, you were the victim here’.”
“It’s egregious and it absolutely plays right into his false narrative of how this war started.”
The United States has so far seen no indication that Putin has used his “propaganda machine” to exploit the situation, Kirby said, adding: “It wouldn’t be unlike him to do that.”
Kirby also said countering the Russian president’s ability to “wage war on a neighboring nation may actually prevent a larger conflict in which American troops might be needed”.
Moscow says it had to invade Ukraine to protect its own security against what it casts as a hostile West that is bent on undermining Russia – a position that Kyiv and its Western supporters reject as absurd.
Biden convened Tuesday’s call amid concerns that support for Kyiv’s war effort against Russia was fading, after Congress excluded aid to Ukraine from an emergency bill to prevent a partial government shutdown.
Its omission from the U.S. spending bill sent pro-Kyiv officials in Washington scrambling to find the best way to secure approval for further assistance on top of the $113 billion in security, economic and humanitarian aid the U.S. has provided since Russia invaded in February 2022.
© Thomson Reuters 2023.