Putin allies jubilant as US Republicans balk on Ukraine aid, report says

By Isaac M December 8, 2023

Vladimir Putin’s allies in the Russian cable television circuit are reportedly taking Senate Republicans’ balking over passage of a clean bill to fund Ukraine’s counteroffensive as a sign that the US’s committment to the war is deteriorating.

The Daily Beast reported that the reaction to Tuesday’s explosive confrontation between Democrats and Republicans at a briefing hosted by Biden administration defence officials was one of jubilation on Russian state media, where it was heralded as a sign of a favourable turn for Russian forces in the war.

The clearest reaction reportedly came from Olga Skabeeva, host of a Russian programme titled 60 Minutes.

“Well done, Republicans! They’re standing firm! That’s good for us,” she stated plainly.

Another Russian host reportedly declared: “This will be a great revelation to other countries. It is even more dangerous to be a friend of the United States than its enemy. In the end, they will abandon you, leaving nothing but the scorched earth on your territory,” according to the Beast.

To be clear, further military aid to Ukraine is by no means a dead prospect on Capitol Hill. As of right now, Speaker Mike Johnson of the Republican House caucus is vowing that his chamber will not pass any further aid without the coinciding passage of H.R. 2, an immigration and border security bill that Democrats say is a non-starter. But Mr Johnson has backed down before, and negotiations remain fluid.

Support for Ukraine is much more prevalent within the Senate GOP caucus, though there are some opponents there as well. In that chamber too, however, Republicans are making clear that they won’t pass funding for Ukraine without strings attached — meaning concessions from Democrats on border security issues.

That was the cause of Tuesday’s blow-up at the briefing, attended by bipartisan members of the Senate Intelligence committee and leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer. Democrats at the meeting accused Republicans of “hijacking” the briefing when GOP senators asked Defense Department officials to convince their rivals that Ukraine funding was important enough to warrant political concessions to the Republicans; this request was unsurprisingly denied.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was also slated to attend Tuesday’s briefing, but called off his appearance at the last moment.


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