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Talks Regarding US Assistance for Ukraine Anticipated to Extend Beyond Christmas.

Talks Regarding US Assistance for Ukraine Anticipated to Extend Beyond Christmas.

Next week, American legislators will continue working during the Christmas holiday in order to negotiate an agreement on border security. This negotiation is in exchange for Republican support to provide additional aid to Ukraine.

“We acknowledge that there are still difficult issues to be addressed, but we are determined to meet the needs at the southern border and assist our allies and partners in dealing with significant threats in Israel, Ukraine, and the Indo-Pacific region. The Senate will not ignore these important national security challenges,” stated Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a joint statement on Tuesday evening.

“We hope that the negotiators can resolve any remaining matters so that the Senate can quickly address the national security supplemental at the beginning of the new year,” the statement further stated.

Earlier on Tuesday, Schumer informed journalists that although he remains hopeful about the talks’ advancement, legislators require additional time.

The specifics of this issue are crucial, as it has not been addressed by Congress in a long time. The Senate’s leading Democrat stated, “We understand that this will not be a simple task.” However, we also understand that it must be accomplished. While we have made significant strides in border security over the past week, both sides agree that it will require more time.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top minority leader, also recognized the challenges, pointing out that the most recent significant legislation regarding immigration and border security was passed in the late 1980s.

McConnell informed reporters on Tuesday that no major immigration legislation has been approved since the second term of President Reagan. This task is challenging, but we are putting in great effort to achieve a resolution because it is necessary for the country and needs to happen soon.

The US has allocated over $100 billion to equip and assist Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February 2022. President Joe Biden has requested for an additional $60 billion to be approved by Congress. Some Republicans in Congress have grown doubtful about the necessity of continuing to fund Ukraine’s defense.

In the past few weeks, Senate Republicans have linked their support for providing further funds to Ukraine with the requirement to also tighten immigration regulations focused on decreasing the amount of individuals unlawfully crossing the US’s southern border and deporting those who are currently residing in the country.

The White House has cautioned that there is only enough funding for one additional military aid package to Ukraine before the end of the year.

Colin Cleary, a former member of the Foreign Service who worked in Ukraine and currently teaches at George Washington University, stated to VOA that the majority of military assistance has been provided by the United States.

“If aid were not provided, the military would face a significant crisis. This would include both the need for large amounts of ammunition and supplies in positional warfare, as well as protecting civilian infrastructure with air defense,” stated the speaker.

Although the Senate may approve an agreement, it may not be successful in the House due to the Republicans’ small majority. A considerable number of Republican House members are against providing further assistance to Ukraine, and the party recently removed a speaker who worked with Democrats to pass laws.

FILE - Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Nov. 2, 2023.

FILE – Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Nov. 2, 2023.

The current House Speaker, Mike Johnson, who assumed the role after Kevin McCarthy’s removal, stated that increased funding for border security is crucial for any Ukrainian aid plan. However, he also desires to impose additional requirements on the aid.

Last week, he stated that the Biden administration is requesting billions of dollars without proper supervision, lacking a defined plan for success, and failing to provide the answers that the American people deserve.

International reaction

Recently, Russian leader Vladimir Putin made a public statement rejoicing in the apparent decrease of Western support for Ukraine.

According to The Associated Press, a source stated that Ukraine’s current production is minimal and they rely heavily on imports. They are making efforts to maintain some level of production, but their reliance on free imports may eventually come to an end. This transition seems to be happening gradually.

Although some people who oppose providing aid to Ukraine criticize the aid packages as giving the government a “blank check,” the majority of the aid consists of military equipment. The monetary amounts in the aid packages primarily reflect the expenses incurred in the U.S. for purchasing weapons from manufacturers and then shipping them to Ukraine.

On Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine expressed his belief that the U.S. would not deny essential funding during their fight against a Russian invasion.

During a press conference in Kyiv, President Zelenskyy stated that the United States will not let us down and will fulfill our agreements completely. We are putting in a lot of effort towards this goal.