Ukraine’s foreign minister told Axios he is “concerned” about recent comments from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) suggesting a Republican-controlled Congress might slash critical war funding, as Ukrainian forces seek to ramp up counterattacks on Russian forces after repelling the invaders from dozens of settlements in recent weeks.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the news outlet Ukrainians believe McCarthy’s comments “are unfair,” but he’s hopeful McCarthy just made the remarks as a form of political posturing, with no intent of following through.
The top House Republican raised eyebrows in an interview with Punchbowl News last week, predicting a future where “people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine.”
President Joe Biden later slammed what he called a “threat” from McCarthy, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) distanced himself from the comments, saying the U.S. and other Western countries “need to do more to supply the tools Ukraine needs to thwart Russian aggression.”
The U.S. has given Ukraine roughly $15.2 billion in military funding since Biden took office, according to the State Department.
“People make political statements before elections and pursue different policies after the elections,” Kuleba reportedly said, alluding to McCarthy.
Many observers believe this is a critical time for Ukrainian forces, as the country prepares for the first full winter of the war. Recent campaigns to recapture Russian-occupied territory in eastern and southern Ukraine have been highly successful, and the Ukrainians appear to be closing in on Kherson, a city formerly of more than 250,000 in southern Ukraine, which Russians captured in March. Russian forces have responded by attacking civilian infrastructure, with air raids knocking out power to more than 1.4 million Ukrainian households over the weekend.
The left-wing Congressional Progressive Caucus retracted a letter sent to the White House this week encouraging Biden to “engage in direct talks with Russia” to end the war. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) claimed the letter was months old and was sent out by her staff “without vetting.”