Biden: Putin Is “Betting in Vain” on US Failure in Aid to Ukraine

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Republicans in Congress still block the administration’s attempt to help Ukraine fight the Russian invasion. President Joe Biden warned Tuesday that Russia is betting on US inability to further help Ukraine. Biden promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky support despite Republicans’ continued blocking of new military aid. Standing next to Biden at a White House press conference, Zelensky pledged that Ukraine would keep fighting and said it would be “madness” for Kyiv to give up its own territories to reach a peace agreement. Russian President Vladimir Putin “is betting that the United States will not be able to help Ukraine. We must, we must, we must prove him wrong,” Biden said. He emphasized that the defeat of Ukraine would mean strengthening Putin “and potential aggressors” around the world. Biden stressed that he would “not turn his back on Ukraine,” adding that the United States would “continue to provide critical weapons and equipment to Ukraine as long as we can.” But the question is how long Biden’s administration can do that. Republicans in Congress are refusing to approve $60 billion in new aid to Ukraine unless Democrats agree to major immigration reforms. Zelensky, who spent the morning talking to Republicans and Democrats in Congress, expressed cautious optimism that the frozen flow of US aid would resume. “I have received signals. They’ve been more than positive. But we know that we need to differentiate words from concrete results,” Zelensky claimed. The Ukrainian leader also rejected suggestions that Kyiv could cede territory seized by Russia since the invasion began in February 2022 to bring a ceasefire closer. “It’s madness, frankly speaking,” he said, before outlining plans to use Western aid to achieve air superiority and to attack Russian naval bases in the Black Sea in 2024. Biden said he had approved another $200 million in military aid to help Ukraine in the coming weeks, with the White House warning that funding could dry up by the end of the year without congressional help. The united front at the White House contrasts with the growing division on Capitol Hill, where Republicans are pushing not only for new policy solutions for the Mexican border, but also increasingly questioning whether Ukrainians should continue the war against the Russian invasion. While Moscow claims new successes on the battlefield and says any new aid to Kyiv would “turn into a fiasco,” House Speaker Mike Johnson commented without enthusiasm on Biden’s request for additional funding for Ukraine, despite his meeting with Zelensky. “Biden’s administration seemingly asks for billions of additional dollars without appropriate oversight, without a clear strategy for winning, and without the answers I think Americans should get,” Johnson said. Republican Senator J.D. Vance, close to party leader and likely 2024 presidential nominee Donald Trump, said Zelensky behaved “rudely” on Tuesday, putting pressure on the Senate.