Panic of the proxy warriors
New uncertainty over the future of US funding for the Ukraine war underscores that Kyiv has become "hostage" to Washington.
For the first time since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, President Biden has expressed alarm that Congress will fail to authorize the US weaponry that keeps the proxy war alive.
“It does worry me,” Biden said this week, after the ouster of Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy left the White House’s latest $24 billion Ukraine package in limbo. If Congress won’t deliver, Biden suggested that he will circumvent the normal appropriations process: “There is another means by which we may be able to find funding, but I’m not going to get into that right now.”
Biden’s “acknowledgment of concern... was a departure from the confidence he expressed” in a phone call with NATO allies just one day prior, the New York Times noted. And despite the president’s private assurances, the last-minute Congressional decision to strip Ukraine spending from the government shutdown deal “freaked everyone out” in Europe, a senior US diplomat says.
Ukrainian officials are the most agitated. “If we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky informed a group of Senators in Washington late last month. And when Zelensky departed the capital, “he was more visibly anxious than he had been in previous meetings with Biden about the future of U.S. support,” a senior administration official disclosed.