Zelensky Will Address U.S. Senators Before Vote on Ukraine Aid


A day after the White House warned that the United States would soon run out of money to send weapons to Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky will make a direct appeal to senators on Tuesday aimed at reminding lawmakers what is at stake if they fail to quickly approve emergency military aid for his nation.

Republican support for funding Ukraine’s war effort is waning, and an emergency funding package is stalled in Congress. The Democratic-led Senate will vote on Wednesday about whether to approve more than $61 billion in Ukraine-focused assistance as part of a $106 billion national security package.

Before the vote, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, warned, “America’s national security is on the line.” He said that he had invited Mr. Zelensky to brief lawmakers in a confidential video call on Tuesday in which the Ukrainian leader is expected to give updates on the state of the fighting and offer reminders about the war’s broader implications.

“If Ukraine falls, Putin will keep on going,” Mr. Schumer said from the Senate floor Monday evening.

“Autocrats around the world will be emboldened,” he added. “Democracy, this grand and noble experiment, will enter an era of decline.”

Nearly two years into the war, President Biden has vowed that the United States will stand with Ukraine for “as long as it takes” to beat back Russian aggression. But, as the war drags on, a growing faction of Republicans has voiced concerns about providing Mr. Zelensky’s government with more financial support.

Republicans twice refused to include military aid for Ukraine in stopgap spending bills to keep the government funded this fall, insisting that any money should be tied to border security.

Ukraine urgently needs more ammunition and other weapons to try to turn the tide on the battlefield. The country’s counteroffensive against entrenched Russian forces in southern Ukraine has so far failed to meet its objectives, and Moscow’s forces have been going on the offensive in the east.

On Monday, Shalanda D. Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, wrote an open letter to House and Senate leaders in both parties saying that cutting off the flow of funding and weapons would “kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield.”

“We are out of money — and nearly out of time,” she wrote.

While the warning from Washington did not stir overt signs of panic in Kyiv, it comes at perhaps the most uncertain moment for Ukraine since the first chaotic months of the war.

Mr. Zelensky has acknowledged that a summer offensive aimed at taking back large swaths of land has failed to achieve its aims. He has said that his country needs to find better ways to recruit and train soldiers as losses mount, and troops who have been fighting relentlessly for nearly two years need a break. And divisions between his government and military leaders are increasingly being pored over by the Ukrainian news media as domestic politics reasserts itself.

Despite the bloody fighting, the front line has remained largely static over the past year. While they have regained little ground, Ukrainian forces have expended enormous amounts of ammunition to hold the line.

Mr. Zelensky has repeatedly warned of the risks that dwindling U.S. military assistance would pose.

In recent weeks, he has expressed concern that the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza could distract allies and potentially undermine support for Ukraine.

“Our deliveries have decreased,” Mr. Zelensky told reporters on Nov. 16, referring specifically to 155-millimeter shells, saying “they really slowed down.”


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