Senate Leaders Brace To Give Zelensky Bad News

The Senate was expected to deliver some bad news to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a scheduled meeting on Thursday – it’s not looking like the U.S. is going to be able to send his country any more aid in its fight against Russia.

According to Politico, there are a lot of obstacles standing in the way of new aid being approved for Ukraine – not just now, but for the remainder of 2023.

While the Biden administration has requested billions of dollars in new aid for Ukraine, there is a huge uphill climb to getting that approved.

Republicans in the House, for one, don’t really want to send Ukraine any more money. It’s also becoming more and more likely that a government shutdown will be hard to avert, as House GOP members are having trouble coming to a consensus on a funding deal.

While Ukraine can count some powerful senators as allies – including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – not all Republicans in the upper chamber of Congress believe that the U.S. should provide more humanitarian aid. Some argue that other European countries should step up and shoulder some of that burden.

With all of these challenges staring Congress in the face, senators on both sides of the aisle have acknowledged that a breakthrough could take at least a few weeks, if not much longer – meaning Ukraine will have no choice but to wait.

Republican Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas, who supports more aid for Ukraine, told Politico about the likely delay in more funding:

“Am I worried that might be the case? Yes. It’s a terrible message, as we struggle to take care of assisting Ukraine in this war. Just even the process is damaging to the view of the stability of the United States and being an ally.”

Dick Durbin, the majority whip in the Senate, said that he hopes the Senate doesn’t have to tell Zelenskyy that he’ll have to wait for more aid. He provided some reassurance, though, imploring to the Ukrainian leader:

“Don’t give up on us. We’re not going to give up on you.”

Despite winning some battles over the summer and gaining back territory recently, Ukraine is in need of more aid to continue to successfully fight back Russia.

Politico reported that the Senate, perhaps to distract from the fact that they were going to deliver bad news to Zelenskyy, were planning to roll out a red carpet to him. They were going to host him in the Old Senate Chamber, which is quite storied.

But, all the fanfare is not likely to provide the Ukrainian leader with a lot of reassurance.

The potential for more aid for Ukraine in the immediate future is unlikely, especially after Republican Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky said he would oppose any funding bill that has more Ukrainian aid.

That means that if lawmakers want to avoid a full government shutdown, they’ll likely have to keep new money for Ukraine out of a stopgap spending bill.