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Bipartisan Support for Ukraine in the United States, - Anton Kuchukhidze

The strategic nature of the relationship between Washington and Kyiv is only deepened by the fact that Ukraine is currently at the forefront of the global war between democracy and dictatorship. Anton Kuchukhidze, an expert at the United Ukraine Analytical Center, writes about this in his article for The Gaze. The text of the article can be found below.

The Western coalition that supports Ukraine has a practice to observe what fundamental decisions the United States makes at its level. This may concern, for example, issues of supplying weapons, financial aid, political support, etc. Influential countries of the world, which are part of the Western coalition, may even expect certain solutions-signals from the US, to launch certain processes afterwards. In particular, this applies to Germany, France, and a number of other countries. Great Britain is more independent in this regard, but there are many political and military-technical issues that the parties coordinate and offer their partners already agreed solutions.

The issue of selling weapons to Ukraine can be an example of such practice. Before the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation to Ukraine, non-public prohibitions were created concerning the supply of weapons from the US to Ukraine, which led to a significant delay in the performance of commercial contracts. In particular, similar things happened in 2020, when Donald Trump's administration delayed its consent for the implementation of six contracts for the purchase of weapons and ammunition with a total cost of a measly USD 30 million for about a year, while it usually takes only two months to agree such contracts with the State Department. However, currently there are no such delays.

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian military to Ukraine, the United States began to provide regularly financial and technical aid to the Ukrainian army, and this was a consequence of the consolidated position of the Democrats and Republicans. Representatives of both major political forces in the US, both Democrats and Republicans, have repeatedly expressed their support for our state, despite internal party discussions on this issue.

In September this year, leader of the Republicans in the Senate Mitch McConnell said that the United States should continue and even increase assistance to Ukraine in the war with Russia, as it is in the strategic, security and economic interests of the United States. "First, we are against China, Russia, North Korea and Iran here. This alone demonstrated that we are on the right side. Second, we are not losing any American military. Ukrainians fight by themselves," McConnell argued in favour of providing the US assistance to Ukraine. "Regarding our GDP, we contribute a really small share of it to these efforts in Ukraine. If Putin wins, a NATO country will be next. And I think that it is much smarter to stop this invasion, to push him back, and Ukrainians themselves are the only ones who are ready to take part in this," he said.

On his part, new leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives Hakeem Jeffries, who replaced Nancy Pelosi last December at this position, answering the question about the fact that no new funding was allocated for providing aid to Ukraine in the recently approved US budget for the next 45 days, said: "In the next few days, Republicans will face a choice. Will they defend freedom, democracy, truth and the Ukrainian people, or will they continue to bow the knee to the pro-Putin faction in the Republican part of the House of Representatives?" At the same time, according to sources in The Wall Street Journal, pro-Ukraine senators from both parties are currently concerned about the situation in the House of Representatives and say they want to act quickly to pass an annual aid package for Ukraine, which is much bigger than the amount of assistance requested by US President Joe Biden in August and which was intended for the period up to elections in 2024. As senators polled by The Wall Street Journal estimated, USD 50 to 100 billion is the total amount required to finance Ukraine next year.

The Strategic Importance of Relations Between Washington and Kyiv Is Increasing

Regular communication with representatives of both leading US political forces is an integral part of the program of visits of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to the United States. So, we can confidently say that we have bipartisan support for Ukraine in the US.

For example, in the spring of this year, Volodymyr Zelensky held a meeting with the delegation of the House of Representatives of the US Congress from the Republican Party, led by chairman of the Standing Committee on Intelligence Mike Turner. During the meeting, he clearly stated: "Bicameral and bipartisan support from the United States, President Biden, and the entire American people has played a decisive role in our country's ability to confront Russia in the war for our freedom and democratic values."

Upon returning to Ukraine, on 12 April, the President met in Kyiv with the bipartisan delegation of the US Senate, which included Joseph Manchin, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Kelly. At the end of the summer, in preparation for another visit to the United States, Volodymyr Zelensky met again with representatives of the US Parliament from both parties, namely with Senators Richard Blumenthal, Lindsey Graham and Elizabeth Warren. During the meeting, issues of further strengthening of the Ukrainian defence capabilities were discussed.

Communication of the President of Ukraine both with the Democrats and with the Republicans, and the support of our country by both political giants of the US has already become a kind of tradition in the modern diplomatic relations. For example, after Volodymyr Zelensky's September visit to the United States, Foreign Affairs Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba emphasized that the bipartisan support of the US Congress for Ukraine is maintained, "despite all the apocalyptic comments of some analysts."

On his part, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed this, commenting on his meeting with speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy. "Bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans ensured the impressive level of aid that the United States has been able to provide to Ukraine," Sullivan said during the briefing on 21 September 2023, and added, "The White House believes there is a strong bipartisan majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to ensure continued support."

The strategic importance of relations between Washington and Kyiv is increasing. This was caused by the fact that the war against Russia has gone beyond the confrontation between two states and turned into a global conflict between democracy and dictatorship, where Ukraine defends democracy, and Russia leads a coalition of dictatorial regimes and terrorist groups (Iran, Belarus, North Korea, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah), which are waging a civilizational war against democracy in virtually every part of the world. Recent events in Israel proved this once again. Where terrorists become more active, the Kremlin's influence is always obvious. This is exactly what Volodymyr Zelensky said in his speech at the 2023 Democracy Summit organized by US President Joseph Biden in March this year. In his speech, the President of Ukraine drew the attention of the participants to the fact that Russia has been at war with many democracies of the world for a long time, involving mechanisms of disinformation, corruption, interference in elections, espionage, and cybercrime. Recently, attempts to provoke a global energy and food crisis added to this list.

The global war of democracy against dictatorship continues. These regimes cannot coexist, and therefore the strategic nature of relations between Washington and Kyiv is only deepened by the fact that Ukraine is currently on the front lines of this war. This war is a challenge to the United States and the entire free world. World democracies must combine their efforts in the fight against dictatorships and terrorism. Therefore, it is very important to understand to what extent the internal political process that will take place in the United States of America next year, during the presidential race, will generally affect the strength of support for Ukraine by the Western coalition, understanding the fact that the situation in the United States will also affect the mood of European states.

Source: "The Gaze"

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