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Additional U.S. aid for Ukraine left in limbo as Congress dodges a government shutdown

Ukraine aid dropped from U.S. spending bill
Ukraine funding dropped from U.S. spending bill, Kyiv waits and hopes 02:01

Kharkiv, Ukraine — The U.S. Congress avoided a federal government shutdown only after Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy jettisoned any additional aid for Ukraine from the last-minute funding package, giving into a key demand from some members of his party.

The United States has sent more than $75 billion in aid to Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, and in the war-torn nation on Monday morning, people were left hoping that the American aid pipeline would soon regain its bipartisan backing.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry acknowledged "political discussions" in Washington and said it was "actively" working for a breakthrough agreement to ensure the vital support not only keeps coming, but increases to meet the needs of Ukraine's grinding counteroffensive.

Ukraine aid dropped from bill to avert government shutdown 05:18

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, honoring his country's war dead on the newly introduced "Defenders Day" on October 1, avoided any mention of American politics or the billions of dollars in funding for his country that has now been placed on hold.

Just over a week ago, Zelenskyy appealed to the U.S. Congress in person, telling lawmakers that Ukraine was winning, but that it needed more aid to defeat Russia.

President Biden had requested an additional $24 billion to shore up Ukraine's defenses with more artillery, fighter jets and more Abrams tanks, the first of which only recently arrived.

WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 21: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelens
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives on Capitol Hill alongside Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) at the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 21, 2023. Tom Brenner for The Washington Post via Getty

On Sunday, as the nation observed its first Defenders Day, traffic on Kyiv's Maidan, or independence square, came to a standstill for a minute of silence as Ukrainians honored their fallen troops.

The number of war casualties grows daily as Ukrainian forces push painstakingly forward with their counteroffensive.

In Washington, Mr. Biden called on lawmakers to get U.S. aid for Ukraine back on track, vowing in no uncertain terms that, "we're going to get it done."

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has called American support for Kyiv's defense against Russia steadfast and bipartisan. In 45 days, when the current funding package lapses and a new U.S. budget will need to be passed, it will become clear if that's just wishful thinking.

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