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Larger US military package required, says former special representative for Ukraine

by Alexander Query September 7, 2023 8:56 PM 2 min read
Former State Department special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Kurt Volker, former U.S. ambassador to NATO and special representative for Ukraine, was adamant during a meeting with journalists in Kyiv on Sept. 7.

"There is no reason to hesitate to invest in Ukraine," he said, calling investors to believe in the country's future success.

Volker is among dozens of political figures coming to Ukraine for the Yalta Security Conference (YES), held in Kyiv late this week to discuss the country's strategic development.

Volker tackled the wrong expectations of Western observers over Ukraine's counteroffensive, often described as "too slow" at best.

"When you're imagining some kind of rapid, you know, regain of territory, that's not the way to think," Volker said.

Volker also advocated for a larger military aid package from the U.S. to speed up Ukraine's advances.

"The administration and Congress need to consider making that a much bigger number because if we keep it at the level that it's at, $24 billion, we're going to have to do it again next year during an election year," he said.

"I would argue to make it a larger number. Do it once to cover all of the election year and then stop announcing every two weeks some new amount of money," he said, referring to the numerous announcements of hundreds of millions of dollars of help from the approximate $45 billion provided since Russia began its full-scale war.

He said it was paramount to avoid alienating American voters before the U.S. presidential elections next year. "Do it once, get it done," he said.

He added that the military aid is not in cash, and thus, the risk of corruption over such help is small.

"We're not giving cash to Ukraine," he said. "We count up that value, and that's the dollar amount that we claim, and so the opportunity for corruption is extremely low compared to what was just providing cash to Ukraine."

Volker also criticized the speed of weapons delivery to the country, saying the Ukrainian army should have been "trained and equipped" right after the EuroMaidan Revolution when Russia waged its first invasion of Ukraine through proxies in Donbas and the annexation of Crimea.

The diplomat called the discussions over the delivery of F-16 to Ukraine that started in 2022 "a year lost."

"We did nowhere near enough, nowhere fast enough, even with the F-16 decision," he said.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 22 – F-16s and the irrational politics of military aid
Episode #22 of our weekly video podcast “This Week in Ukraine” is dedicated to F-16 fighter jets and the irrational politics behind Western military aid to Ukraine. Host Anastasiia Lapatina is joined by the Kyiv Independent’s reporter Oleg Sukhov. Listen to the audio version of the podcast on Appl…

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