Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky unexpectedly canceled a previously announced media briefing with US senators, at which he was supposed to appeal for continued military funding against the Russian invasion, a Democrat in the House said.
“By the way, Zelensky was unable to attend the event … something happened at the last minute and disrupted our briefing,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters.
Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the Ukrainian president’s appearance after the White House issued an urgent warning that Kiev’s military efforts to defend against Russian invasion could grind to a halt without additional US military and economic aid.
Schumer said the administration invited Zelensky to address the senators to “hear directly from him exactly what this is about.” The US Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and other senior national security officials will also speak at the briefing.
Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said in a letter: “We’re out of money — and almost out of time.”
Joe Biden has called for a package of nearly $106 billion to help Ukraine, Israel and other needs, but Republican skepticism about aid to Ukraine is growing, and even Republicans who support it are pushing for policy changes on the U.S.-Mexico border , to stem the flow of migrants as a condition of approval.
Negotiations on the border security package broke down over the weekend, aides said. Talks are expected to resume this week.
Congress has already appropriated $111 billion in aid to Ukraine, including $67 billion in military procurement, $27 billion in economic and civilian aid, and $10 billion in humanitarian aid. Young writes that all of these funds, except for about 3 percent of military funding, were exhausted by mid-November.
The new package offers an additional $61 billion for Ukraine, mainly to buy weapons from the United States, $14.3 billion for Israel, which includes $10.6 billion for weapons. Nearly $14 billion is also earmarked for border security, as well as aid to the Asia-Pacific region and other US national security provisions.
The Biden administration has said it has slowed some types of military aid to Kiev in recent weeks to try to stretch out supplies until Congress approves additional funding.
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