In recent news, the United States has managed to avoid a government shutdown, but the absence of extra funding for Ukraine in the spending bill has left many in the war-torn nation feeling anxious. While President Joe Biden expressed satisfaction with the deal reached by lawmakers, he also acknowledged the absence of new funding for Ukraine. Nevertheless, there is a commitment from Washington not to abandon Kyiv, and a bipartisan group in the US Senate has promised to vote on additional aid for Ukraine.
For some residents in Kyiv, the ongoing drama in the US Congress is seen as a distant concern compared to the ongoing war. Ukrainian serviceman Volodymyr Kostiak remarked that Ukraine is caught in the middle of internal American politics, but he believes that it won’t significantly impact assistance to Ukraine.
Kostiak attributed the funding dispute to the upcoming 2024 US presidential election but remains optimistic that the US will continue to support Ukraine. He highlighted that the US budget has been suspended numerous times in history without causing severe consequences.
Natalia and Serhii Krasnoshchoks, an English teacher and an entrepreneur, echoed this optimism, expressing hope for continued aid to Ukraine and gratitude for any assistance provided.
However, not everyone in Kyiv shares this confidence, especially as American support seems to be waning, nearly 20 months into the conflict. A CNN poll from August revealed that most Americans oppose Congress authorizing additional funding for Ukraine, showing a shift in public sentiment compared to earlier in the conflict when more people believed the US should do more.
Partisan divisions have also deepened, with Democrats and Republicans taking opposing stances on the US role in Ukraine. Experts warn that Russian President Vladimir Putin is closely monitoring the 2024 US presidential election as his invasion of Ukraine faces challenges.
The US budget currently allocates funds for the defense industry, direct budget support, humanitarian aid, and energy projects in Ukraine. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba believes that the exclusion of new aid from the recent Congressional bill is an isolated incident, not a systemic shift in US policy towards Ukraine.
Kuleba emphasized the importance of Ukraine in maintaining global stability and expressed confidence in finding solutions by working with both sides of Congress.
Ukrainian National Security Adviser Oleksiy Danilov, on the other hand, expressed concern over the exclusion of aid and urged the US to continue supporting democracy worldwide.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously warned that a decrease in US support could have dire consequences for the war effort, reminding the world of the human cost of this conflict.
Ultimately, the people of Kyiv remain hopeful but are aware of the importance of international assistance. As Tetiana Ostapchuk, a logistician, put it, “We really need support from other countries because we can’t do it alone.” Many believe that aid is vital, and the consequences could be severe if the US were to withdraw support, given the ongoing Russian aggression and the impact it could have on Ukraine and beyond.