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Biden Says US Will Support Ukraine ‘as Long as We Can’ Amid GOP Standoff, a Change From ‘as Long as It Takes’

Amid a Republican standoff and polarizing politics that puts new aid to Ukraine at risk, President Joe Biden emphasized his administration’s willingness to support Ukraine, but the language was different. He said the US will be there for Kyiv “as long as we can.” 

It’s a change in tune from previous messaging that the US would be a staunch and fierce ally to Ukraine, aiding it for “as long as it takes” to defeat Russia’s invasion. 

On Tuesday, Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed reporters on the state of aid to Ukraine, which has been blocked by Republicans in Congress. 

In his comments, Biden praised Ukraine for surviving for nearly two years, calling its resistance an enormous victory backed by the US, NATO, and other partner nations. “The American people can be and should be incredibly proud of the part they played in supporting Ukraine’s success,” too, he added. Expectations for Ukraine’s survival before the war began were bleak.

It’s now more unclear than ever if the US will continue in that supporting role. When speaking about providing Ukraine with “critical weapons and equipment,” Biden said the US would provide support “as long as we can.” It’s a scaled-back show of support from the president who has promised to keep Ukraine fighting until it wins, whatever it takes. 

The shift in rhetoric is a reflection of the current political divide in Congress that’s keeping Ukraine from receiving new aid beyond the limited funding that remains.

“We’ll continue to supply Ukraine with critical weapons and equipment as long as we can, including $200 million I just approved today in a critical needed equipment: additional air-defense interceptors, artillery, and ammunition,” the president said Tuesday.

“But without supplemental funding, we’re rapidly coming to an end of our ability to help Ukraine respond to the urgent operational demands that it has,” he continued, adding that “Putin is banking on the United States failing to deliver for Ukraine.”

“We must, we must, we must prove him wrong,” Biden said.

Republicans in Congress have blocked the latest assistance package, estimated at roughly $111 billion and including aid for both Ukraine and Israel, and are holding it hostage until Democrats agree to include stricter immigration and border control policies in it as well. Some Republicans, however, are also questioning if further investment in Ukraine is worthwhile.

Officials and experts have argued that without new aid, Ukraine’s current ability to hold the line may buckle in the face of renewed Russian offensives. In his meeting with US Senators earlier this week, Zelenskyy warned that if Russia were to conquer Ukraine, its threat to other NATO members, particularly ones it border, would only grow larger. 

Source : Business Insider