Success in Ukraine has become ‘a matter of U.S. credibility,’ Poland minister says

Ukraine sympathizers carry placards and fly a Ukrainian flag outside the U.S. Capitol building as the Senate works through the weekend on a $95.3 billion foreign aid bill with assistance for Ukraine and Israel on February 11, 2024 in Washington, DC. 

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Ukraine succeeding against Russia in the war has become a question of U.S. credibility, Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister, told CNBC.

“The success of Ukraine is now a matter of U.S. credibility. And if U.S. support for Ukraine were to stop, I think U.S. allies around the world would notice and would start hedging,” he told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick Tuesday.

Aid for Ukraine has become a highly contested topic among U.S. lawmakers in recent months, with an aid package that would see around $61 billion worth of support for the country currently being stuck in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill was approved by the U.S. Senate in February but has faced fierce contention in the Republican-led House. Many GOP politicians have called for the aid to be tied to funding for national security efforts at the U.S.’ southern border and discussions about the Senate-approved aid package to be reformed into a loan package have emerged.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham this week said on social media platform X that he had told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that a loan would be the most likely outcome.

“During my meeting with President Zelensky, I informed him that given the crisis at the United States’ southern border and our overwhelming debt, President Trump’s idea of turning aid from the United States into a no-interest, waivable loan is the most likely path forward,” he said.

Success in Ukraine is now a matter of U.S. credibility, Polish foreign minister says

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and former U.S. president, has long been critical of U.S. support for Ukraine, claiming that the issue is non-American. Trump has also indicated that if he were re-elected, he would consider allowing Russia to take parts of Ukraine and has previously been positive about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Messaging from Trump has however been mixed, as he has also said he would do more than President Joe Biden’s administration has done to support Ukraine. His rhetoric has raised questions and concerns about what U.S. support for Ukraine would look like, and if it could even cease if he were re-elected.

Ukraine has repeatedly urged the U.S. to advance the approved bill. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba last week said he met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss how the bill could be approved.

“Failure to continue supporting Ukraine would severely undermine the U.S. leadership all across the world and jeopardize American national security,” Kuleba said in a post on social media platform X after the meeting.

'If Russia is stopped in Ukraine, it won't attack again': Polish president

Poland’s Sikorski on Tuesday also appealed to U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson to allow a vote on further support for Ukraine, saying that with the additional funds Ukraine and its allies would not be on the backfoot against Russia.

He said he hoped the financial support from Ukraine could come ahead of the U.S. presidential election, due to take place in November. Biden was still hopeful that the vote would pass, Sikorski said. A Polish delegation traveled to the White House last week to meet with Biden.

In the meantime, other countries needed to lead by example, he added.

“What we can do to help your legislative block branch to take a decision is to give a good example, Poland is spending well over 3% of its GDP on defense,” Sikorski told CNBC.

He also said that when taking into consideration the funds committed by European institutions and other member states, they had provided Ukraine with substantially more aid than the U.S. has, suggesting the figure was around double the amount compared to the U.S.

“So we feel we’re giving the United States a good encouragement, a good example to follow,” Sikorski said.

Research from the Council on Foreign Relations published last month said that U.S. aid to Ukraine far exceeded that from other countries, but was second when all EU institutions were combined. It also said that many European nations were making larger contributions relative to the size of their economies.

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