Joe Biden got hot under the collar during a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to a new report. the US President had “barely finished telling his Ukrainian counterpart that he has greenlighted another $1 billion in military assistance when Zelensky started listing all the additional help he needed and wasn’t getting,” according to a new report from NBC.
The President is said to have vented his frustration and raised his voice during the call in June, telling Zelensky that his administration and the US military were working hard to assist Ukraine and that he could show a little more appreciation, according to sources familiar with the call.
The President’s frustration had reportedly been building for weeks after public messaging by Ukrainian officials that the aid wasn’t arriving fast enough.
After the June 15, President Zelensky released a video thanking Biden for the assistance provided.
He said: “I had an important conversation with U.S. President Biden today. I am grateful for this support. It is especially important for our defence in Donbas.”
Biden was also likely aware that Congressional and public support for sending Ukraine billions of dollars in aid might wear thin.
That moment appears to have arrived and the President is facing pushback from some Republicans and Democrats in Congress on the spending which did not exist when the House approved previous packages.
The White House is reportedly thinking of asking for $50billion in additional aid during the so-called lame duck period between the November midterm elections and the start of the new Congressional term in January.
This would likely see the package pushed through Congress before new members are sworn in.
The US has provided around $17.6billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24 earlier this year.
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Biden criticised Republicans who have been calling for decreased funding for Ukraine earlier this month. He said: “These guys don’t get it. It’s a lot bigger than Ukraine. It’s Eastern Europe. It’s NATO. It’s really serious, serious consequential outcomes.”
According to a Pew Research Centre Survey from last month, the American public’s concern about the outcome of the Ukraine war has lessened.
The share of US adults who are concerned or extremely concerned about Ukraine losing the war against Russia dropped 17 points since May, from 55 percent to 38 percent.
Roughly a quarter of Americans say they are not concerned or not too concerned about Russia defeating Ukraine, up from around 16 percent earlier in the year.
The shift in the American public’s views will likely be represented in the next Congress. Some Republican lawmakers and progressive Democrats have claimed that the US is providing too much aid.
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The potential lack of political will comes at a time when Ukraine needs it the most. Russia has begun a strategic bombing campaign in the country, crippling civilian infrastructure ahead of winter while Ukraine’s forces are pushing counteroffensives on several fronts.
However, for the moment, the White House and its NATO allies to be in lockstep over the issue of continuing to provide weapons to Kyiv.
On October 12, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called a meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, gathering allies to discuss how to get more military equipment to Ukraine.
The meeting was an apparent success with governments reportedly digging into stockpiles of weapons and equipment to provide more assistance for Ukraine.