Bipartisan Tensions: Ukraine Aid Caught in US Political Crossfire

In a move that stunned political insiders, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy sidestepped a $6 billion aid request for Ukraine, a notable omission in a crucial stopgap bill

by Faruk Imamovic
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Bipartisan Tensions: Ukraine Aid Caught in US Political Crossfire
© Getty Images News/Win McNamee

In a move that stunned political insiders, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy sidestepped a $6 billion aid request for Ukraine, a notable omission in a crucial stopgap bill. The resultant political ripple could be seen all the way from Washington D.C.

to Kyiv.

The Washington Drama

Republicans, previously at odds with supporting Ukraine in its stance against Russia, have notched their initial success. Their win, resulting in the bill exclusion, made it a euphoric weekend for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In contrast, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been left in a precarious position. Global politics are shifting, with these shifts seemingly favoring Moscow in the ongoing conflict. Adding fuel to the fire, President Joe Biden claimed to have a "deal" with McCarthy to relocate the aid assistance for Ukraine to a different measure.

But this claim was left hanging, as McCarthy's office chose to stay mum on any such agreement. Yet, while political intrigues continue to swirl in the US, Ukraine felt a neighboring sting. Slovakia saw the ascension of Robert Fico's populist party in its recent parliamentary elections.

Fico, a known pro-Russia advocate, has not only exhibited anti-US sentiments but has also openly vowed against supporting Ukraine's NATO ambitions.

The Implications of Aid Delay

McCarthy, already facing questions over his leadership, managed to push the stopgap spending bill, excluding the $6 billion Ukraine funding that the Senate had hoped to incorporate.

While this exclusion doesn't instantly endanger Ukraine, extended postponements could have severe repercussions. More so, such a move might embolden Russia, leading allied European leaders to question US resolve. Democratic Rep.

Mike Quigley, a staunch Ukraine supporter, expressed his disappointment poignantly. He commented on CNN, saying, "Putin is celebrating. I don’t see how the dynamics change in 45 days." While a majority in Washington does lean towards supporting Ukraine, the GOP's internal turbulence puts the aid delivery method into question.

President Biden remains optimistic, expressing confidence in McCarthy's commitment. McCarthy, on the other hand, has hinted at the possibility of including Ukraine funds if provisions for enhanced southern US border security are made.

The undercurrent, however, remains. If McCarthy is ousted in favor of a more radical speaker, Ukraine might find itself stranded in the geopolitical game of chess.

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