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White House spokesman Sullivan visited Zelensky in Kyiv to announce US military aid, “strong” support


White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev on Friday, where he announced the latest $400 million security aid package from the Biden administration.

During the meeting, Mr. Sullivan emphasized the United States’ “strong support for Ukraine,” according to the White House.

The new military aid package included refurbished T-72 tanks, unmanned aerial vehicles and an agreement to upgrade 250 HAWK anti-aircraft missiles that will eventually be transferred to Ukraine.

During his meetings with Mr. Zelensky and other government officials in Ukraine, Mr. Sullivan “reaffirmed continued economic and humanitarian assistance and continued efforts with partners to hold Russia accountable for its aggression,” the White House said.

The visit, which came just days before Tuesday’s midterm elections, contrasted with bipartisan fractures in Congress over unbridled support for military action against Russia.

Last month, 30 progressive members of the House of Representatives called on President Biden in an open letter to push harder for peace talks in Ukraine, noting a clear split in the president’s party over the White House’s strategy.

The lawmakers also suggested that Mr. Biden would get strong support from Democrats on helping Ukraine if he heeded their advice, calling on the president to “combine the military and economic support that the United States has provided to Ukraine with a strong diplomatic push.”

The letter was the first indication that unanimous support within the Democratic Party for Mr. Biden’s Ukraine policy could be at risk if future funds do not also come with diplomatic demands.

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, later retracted the letter under intense pressure from party leaders.

On the other side of the aisle, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned in October that Congress would not provide a “blank check” for Ukraine if the GOP is expected to win a majority on Tuesday.

“I think people are going to sit in a recession, and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” the California Republican told Punchbowl News. “They just won’t do it. … This is not a free blank check.”

Some Republicans openly express skepticism about endless financial support for Kiev, while Americans face growing economic uncertainty at home.

Mr Biden blasted the Republican Party for Mr McCarthy’s comments, saying Republicans “don’t get it”.

“It is much bigger than Ukraine,” he said. “This is Eastern Europe. This is NATO. It’s really serious.”

Congress has approved more than $60 billion in military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine this year alone, and all 30 signatories to Monday’s letter are among those supporting the spending.

A majority of GOP lawmakers still support funding Ukraine, despite 57 Republicans in the House of Representatives and 11 in the Senate voting against the $40 billion aid package in May.

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