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Expected new aid to Ukraine is on the Biden-Zelensky meeting table

زيلينسكي سيجتمع مع بايدن ومع زعماء بالكونغرس من الحزبين الجمهوري والديمقراطي ـ صورة أرشيفية.
زيلينسكي سيجتمع مع بايدن ومع زعماء بالكونغرس من الحزبين الجمهوري والديمقراطي ـ صورة أرشيفية.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Friday that the United States is expected to announce additional aid to Ukraine this week, adding that President Joe Biden will meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, on Thursday at the White House.

Sullivan said that Zelensky is also expected to meet with congressional leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties in Washington.

Reuters said on Monday, citing American officials, that the United States is considering shipping tactical missile systems that can fly at an altitude of 300 kilometers, or multiple-launch guided missile systems with a range of up to 70 kilometers equipped with cluster bombs, or both systems, to Ukraine.

Kiev has repeatedly asked the Biden administration to provide it with tactical missile systems to assist in the attack, and to cut off supply lines, air bases and railway networks in the territories occupied by Russia.

But an informed source said that the United States does not intend to announce the provision of this system to Ukraine during Zelensky's visit to the White House.

The Ukrainian president's visit coincides with the US Congress discussing new military aid to Kiev worth $24 billion for weeks.

Negotiations are difficult, especially in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, as there is hesitation among Biden's Republican opponents regarding providing support to Ukraine, according to Agence France-Presse.

On the other hand, the traditional Republicans in the Senate support providing aid, and they worked alongside the Democrats over the past year to have Congress approve more than $110 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid to Kiev.

The White House expected that both parties in Congress would eventually continue to provide support to Ukraine.

“Frankly, both Republicans and Democrats understand that the United States cannot, for its own sake, let alone its moral obligations, abandon Ukraine at this critical moment,” Sullivan said.

Last month, Biden asked Congress to approve additional aid to Ukraine worth $40 billion, for military, economic and humanitarian support.

Traditional Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell, the party's leader in the Senate, have supported providing aid.

But members of the populist right wing of the Republican Party, especially Donald Trump, who is considered the most likely to win the party's nomination for the presidential elections next year to confront Biden, are denouncing the abundance of aid provided by the United States, calling on the administration to focus on domestic priorities.

In September, Zelensky went to Washington on a visit that was shrouded in secrecy and was his first internationally during the war. He entered the White House wearing the military uniform that became his distinguishing mark.

After meeting with Biden at the White House, Zelensky declared that Ukraine "will never surrender." The Biden administration pledged to support Kiev in the long term. Biden visited Kiev a few months later on a historic trip.

US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, visited Ukraine earlier this month.

The United States has provided $43 billion in military support that has helped Ukraine repel Russian incursions since the start of the invasion.

On a related issue, the Ukrainian government, on Friday, approved a draft budget for next year with its intention to increase spending in the defense field and rely on the continued financial support granted to it from the West to cover the expected deficit.

The 2024 draft budget expects the deficit to reach 1.548 trillion hryvnia ($42 billion), or about 20.4 percent of the gross domestic product.

More than half of the total spending in the Ukrainian budget planned for next year, or 1.7 trillion hryvnia, will be allocated to the defense sector to finance the war effort against Russia, which began a large-scale invasion in February 2022.



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