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Borrell: US support for Ukraine will 'most likely' decrease, EU should be ready

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 11, 2023 7:40 PM 2 min read
The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, speaks upon his arrival at the 'Wake Up, Spain!' forum on March 30, 2023, in Madrid, Spain. (Jesus Hellin/Europa Press via Getty Images)
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The U.S.'s support for Ukraine will most likely decrease, and the EU should have the political willingness to continue to send aid regardless, the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell said at the Congress of the Party of European Socialists in Malaga, Spain, on Nov. 11.

The EU has the necessary means to continue supporting Ukraine, Borrell said, but it should be prepared for the likelihood that the U.S. may not sustain its contribution at current levels.

In addition, Borrell said that the "prospect of (Ukraine's) victory over Russia is not immediate."

The U.S. has been the largest single contributor of aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in terms of military assistance, humanitarian aid, and financial support.

However, support for Ukraine has increasingly become politicized in the U.S., becoming a partisan issue in which Democrats are much more likely to support continued aid, compared to a higher degree of opposition among Republicans.

This has become especially apparent after the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7, as U.S. funding for Israel and Ukraine has become increasingly linked in Congress.

On Oct. 20, U.S. President Joe Biden proposed a $105 billion joint funding bill that contained defense aid for both Ukraine and Israel, but it has not made it through Congress as of the time of this publication.

On Nov. 7, Senate Democrats blocked a bill that contained aid for Israel but none for Ukraine.

The U.S. announced the latest funding package of $425 million in military aid for Ukraine on Nov. 3, a combination of funds from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) and drawdowns from the Department of Defense (DoD) stockpiles.

Drawdowns entail the delivery of military equipment that was previously authorized and requires presidential authorization only, not a specific funding bill from Congress. DoD stockpiles are not limitless, however.

In order to continue to fund the USAI beyond this latest package, Congress will need to pass a new funding bill that specifically allocates additional money for the initiative.

Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said on Nov. 9 that U.S. defense aid packages are getting increasingly smaller, and all of the USAI funding has been spent.

There are potential issues on the horizon related to the EU's military support for Ukraine as well.

Reuters reported on Nov. 11 that some EU countries, including Germany, are hesitant about committing to the $21 billion military aid package that Borrell proposed in July 2023.

One of the concerns, unnamed diplomats told Reuters, was about the multi-year commitment that the fund entailed, with some saying they preferred to approach aid on a year-by-year basis.

This would, however, make the EU's military support for Ukraine less predictable.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 29 – Is support for Ukraine declining worldwide?
Episode #29 is dedicated to the risk of declining support for Ukraine around the world.

 

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