White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday in Kyiv, where he announced the Biden administration’s latest $400 million security assistance package.
In the meeting, Mr. Sullivan underscored the U.S.’s “steadfast support to Ukraine,” according to the White House.
The new package of military aid included refurbished T-72 tanks, unmanned drones, and an agreement to refurbish 250 HAWK surface-to-air missiles that will eventually be transferred to Ukraine.
In his meetings with Mr. Zelenskyy and other government officials in Ukraine, Mr. Sullivan “affirmed the continued provision of economic and humanitarian assistance, as well as ongoing efforts with partners to hold Russia accountable for its aggression,” the White House said.
The visit, just days before midterm elections on Tuesday, contrasted with fractures in both parties in Congress over limitless support for the war effort against Russia.
Last month, 30 House progressives urged President Biden in an open letter to more assertively push for peace talks in Ukraine, marking a clear break within the president’s party on the White House’s strategy.
The lawmakers also suggested Mr. Biden would have strong Democratic support for aid to Ukraine if he followed their advice, urging the president to “pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push.”
The letter marked the first indication that unanimous support within the Democratic Party for Mr. Biden’s Ukraine policy could be at risk unless future funds come with diplomatic demands as well.
Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal, Washington state Democrat, later withdrew the letter under intense pressure from party leaders.
On the other side of the aisle, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned in October that Congress will not provide a “blank check” for Ukraine if the GOP, as expected, wins the majority on Tuesday.
“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” the California Republican told Punchbowl News. “They just won’t do it. … It’s not a free blank check.”
Some Republicans are openly expressing skepticism about providing endless financial support for Kyiv while Americans face rising economic uncertainty at home.
Mr. Biden chastised the GOP for Mr. McCarthy’s remarks, saying Republicans “don’t get it.”
“It’s a lot bigger than Ukraine,” he said. “It’s Eastern Europe. It’s NATO. It’s really serious.”
Congress has approved more than $60 billion in military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine this year alone, with all 30 signatories to Monday’s letter among those supporting the spending.
A majority of GOP lawmakers still support funding Ukraine, despite 57 Republicans in the House and 11 in the Senate voting against a $40 billion aid package in May.