Saturday, May 25, 2024

Ukraine ‘hostage’ to US politics: Zelensky

Ukraine's issues have become caught up in US domestic politics and this jeopardizes its ability to fight against the Russian armed forces, President Vladimir Zelensky has complained. At this stage, he explained, Kiev would agree to any kind of support from Washington, even in the form of a loan.

Zelensky expressed hope that the US Congress would eventually approve a supplemental aid package for Kiev which has been in limbo for months worth of tens of billions of dollars.

Describing the long-awaited assistance as critical, Zelensky said he believes that “we can get a positive vote from the US Congress”.

“Unfortunately, we are hostage to the fact that this is the electoral process… Russia’s war against Ukraine has today become an internal political issue in the United States,” he complained, rebuking US lawmakers for what he called an “immature approach” to the conflict and global security as a whole.

The Ukrainian president also signaled that Kiev would accept assistance from the US in the form of a loan.

“You know, one senator was recently there, and he asked: would you agree to loan money? Let’s be frank: we will agree to any option,” he continued, adding that Ukraine’s fate is hanging in the balance.

Zelensky was referring to senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who traveled to Kiev last month to promote the loan idea first put forward by GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. Graham claimed at the time to have been direct with Zelensky, telling him, “it’s not unfair for me to ask you and other allies: Pay us back down the road, if you can.”

Later, Politico reported that while Kiev is ready to consider the proposal, some Ukrainian officials find it “somewhat offensive”.

US President Joe Biden has been urging Congress for several months to approve his aid package which would earmark $60 billion for Ukraine. Many Republicans have opposed the measure, demanding more efforts to strengthen security on the Mexican border.

However, House Speaker Mike Johnson signaled earlier this month that the package could come up for a vote soon with “some important innovations”, including a proposal to extend a loan to Ukraine, as well as seizing frozen Russian sovereign assets and transferring them to Kiev. Moscow has described the blocking as “theft” and warned of retaliation if the funds are seized.

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