In a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered a stark warning on Monday, asserting that the hard-fought gains made by Ukraine in its two-year battle against President Vladimir Putin’s forces could be jeopardized without additional US funding.
Despite substantial aid sent to Ukraine since the invasion in February 2022, Republican lawmakers have expressed reluctance, citing a lack of a clear endgame in the ongoing conflict.
As Stoltenberg made a compelling case during his visit to Washington, Blinken painted a grim picture of Ukraine’s prospects without the approval of the so-called supplemental funding. He emphasized that without it, achievements made by Ukrainians, aided by the US, would be in jeopardy, sending the wrong message about the commitment to defending freedom and democracy.
President Joe Biden has urged Congress to approve $61 billion in new aid for Ukraine, yet talks have stalled as Republicans demand significant changes in immigration and border control policies in exchange for their approval. Stoltenberg emphasized the broader security implications, stating that support for Ukraine is crucial to safeguarding global stability and preventing emboldenment of authoritarian leaders, including Putin, North Korea, Iran, and China.
Acknowledging limited gains in Ukraine’s counteroffensive launched last year, Stoltenberg highlighted the unexpected resilience of Ukrainians in reclaiming half of the territory seized by Russia. He countered arguments against providing aid, stating that supporting Ukraine has proven beneficial and is aligned with the longer-term interests of the United States.
Stoltenberg’s visit coincided with significant developments, including Turkey’s approval for Sweden to join NATO, with Hungary expected to follow suit. Despite delays, Stoltenberg anticipated Hungary’s approval soon, revealing that Prime Minister Viktor Orban assured him of parliamentary reconvening at the end of February. The NATO Secretary-General also discussed Sweden and Finland’s recent NATO membership, a strategic shift prompted by the invasion of Ukraine.
As the funding debate unfolds in Congress, Blinken’s warning underscores the geopolitical implications of US support for Ukraine, emphasizing the potential consequences for global security and the emboldening of authoritarian regimes.