Yellen Assures Europe That U.S. Will Provide More Funds for Ukraine

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen told top European economic leaders on Monday that the United States would not back away from supporting Ukraine and pledged that the Biden administration would work to authorize more aid despite resistance from some congressional Republicans.

The comments to a gathering of finance ministers in Luxembourg came as concern mounts in Europe that political dysfunction in the United States and a new conflict in the Middle East would deprive Ukraine of funding that it needs to sustain efforts to repel Russia’s invasion.

The Biden administration is pushing for Congress to take up an emergency assistance package that would pair support for Ukraine and Israel, but its fate remains highly uncertain. Legislative activity in the House has been at a standstill since Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, was ousted as speaker two weeks ago.

Ms. Yellen reassured European officials that a bipartisan majority in Congress and across the United States back Ukraine funding.

“The Biden administration is committed to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes,” she said. “We will work with Congress to pass a robust Ukraine package into law.”

Congress has approved about $113 billion in funding for Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. But last month, lawmakers allowed the emergency funds it had been sending to Ukraine to lapse amid dwindling Republican support for such assistance.

At a news conference on Monday, Ms. Yellen said the White House would soon submit a request for funding for Ukraine and Israel to Congress. She described the funding for Ukraine as President Biden’s “top priority,” adding, “I absolutely believe that we will get this done.”

The administration was previously pursuing a $24 billion aid package to support Ukraine for the next few months, but it could seek a bigger package to avoid another showdown over the funding before the 2024 election.

The European Union recently approved a three-year financing package for Ukraine worth 50 billion euros, or about $53 billion, from 2024 to 2027. Officials have been watching anxiously as support for Ukraine funding appears to be waning in the United States.

Josep Borrell Fontelles, the top E.U. diplomat, told reporters before a summit in Spain this month that the events in the United States were “not expected” and “not good news.”

“Ukraine needs the support of the European Union,” he said, “but also the support of the U.S.”

At the news conference with Ms. Yellen, Paschal Donohoe, the president of the Eurogroup, said he hoped that the United States was mindful that Europe was making a substantial contribution to helping Ukraine.

“We, with confidence, can tell our friends and partners in America that we are playing our part as we therefore ask them for their support,” Mr. Donohoe said, “to maintain and to protect values and ideals that are dear to both of us.”

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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