Denied ATACMS, Zelensky warns without US aid, Kiev will lose the war
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky faces harsh circumstances in the US as he fails to secure bipartisan support for continued aid for Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Kiev could lose the war if the US cuts its direct billion-dollar worth assistance to Ukraine despite having been promised "significant" new air defense weapons.
Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, a supporter of pro-Ukraine policies pushed forward by US President Joe Biden, said Zelensky stressed that "if we [Ukraine] don’t get the aid, we will lose the war."
It was also reported that Zelensky, via social media, claimed that "to win, we must all stand together and work together" and underscored that Kiev had counted on "constant support" by the US in the face of Russia.
On his part, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told Zelensky, according to AFP, that he remained "of the view that when all is said and done... there will be strong bipartisan support to continue funding Ukraine."
According to Sullivan, the US President rejected a request for longer-range ATACMS missiles but was set to announce that a new arms package, which will include "significant air defense capabilities," will be headed to Ukraine.
AFP also reported that Zelensky said he had "great dialogue" on Capitol Hill despite the comparable difference in the welcoming he had this visit compared to the last.
However, Zelensky noted that Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, had given him a discreet welcome amid internal Republican squabble vis-à-vis the monetary aid being spent on Ukraine that could be better invested in the US and alongside its border.
It is also important to note that this comes as Congress is now debating Biden's $24 billion assistance request for Ukraine, which is part of a bigger bid over funding the United States government for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on October 1.
Hard-right Republican lawmakers are holding up the White House's demand for any budget bill passed by Congress if it includes the $24 billion aid. Even relatively moderate Republicans are expressing doubts.
"What's the plan for victory? I think that's what the American public wants to know," McCarthy said this week.
McCarthy rejects Zelensky’s request to address Congress: NBC
Earlier, the Responsible Statecraft news website reported that an increasing number of lawmakers from the US Republican Party are expressing their reluctance or outright opposition to continuing funding for Ukraine, pointing out that their enthusiasm for the speeches of Zelensky has changed and diminished.
"It’s not just far-right members," POLITICO quoted a House Republican aide as saying, pointing out that "(mainstream Republicans are) sympathetic to the cause but we’re throwing money at a conflict that can last for years," the aide indicated.
Zelensky is on a visit to Washington to meet with US lawmakers and Biden after addressing the UN General Assembly in New York earlier this week.
The Ukrainian leader said on social media that obtaining better US air defense capabilities was among his top priorities in the US capital.
According to US officials, Biden and Zelensky will have head-to-head talks in the Oval Office.
National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby said Biden is "looking forward to getting a battlefield perspective directly from Ukraine's commander in chief."
Zelensky's reported request for longer-range ATACMS missiles that can strike up to 300 kilometers (190 miles) away is "not off the table," but there has been no decision yet, Kirby mentioned.
"The president will be talking to President Zelensky about his needs and about how the United States will continue to meet those needs."
According to the Responsible Statecraft, "This may be the reason why Zelensky will be meeting behind closed doors with selected bipartisan members of Congress — including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy — and the White House, and not making another televised address to both chambers."