After a year and a half of war, Ukraine’s leaders now have a new reason to worry: Mounting political chaos in America is threatening to derail their supply of money and weapons.
Days after lawmakers shelved a vital U.S. plan to send billions of dollars in aid to Kyiv, U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted by his own Republican Party colleagues. Aid to Ukraine was named as one of the reasons.
In Kyiv, officials are at a loss as to what might happen next. Their staunchest military ally suddenly looks unreliable, despite assurances from President Biden and others the U.S. will remain steadfast until Ukraine’s invaders are defeated.
“We are freaking out. For us it is a disaster,” said Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, a senior Ukrainian MP who chairs the committee on the country’s integration with the European Union. “We are interested in getting things sorted out so American democracy can function, and so we can restore the bipartisan consensus on supporting their own national interest by supporting Ukraine.”
The hiccup in America comes amid a war that is finely balanced and as some European leaders increasingly are willing to criticize Kyiv and argue against ongoing support for Ukraine.
McCarthy’s historic ousting — no other U.S. House speaker has been deposed before — after Congress voted through an emergency domestic funding package to avert a government shutdown. That deal, a stop-gap 45-day budget to keep the government running, featured no aid to Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government heavily relies on foreign financial and military aid to keep the economy running and expects to receive $42.8 billion from international donors in the coming year. A big chunk of that would come from the United States.
However, now that McCarthy is out, all future U.S. funding for Kyiv is in limbo. It is not clear when a new speaker will be chosen and without one, the American law making machine is stalled. [Continue reading…]