Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy on Tuesday urged U.S. lawmakers to continue their “unwavering” support for Kyiv even if Republicans gain majority control in the House of Representatives.
As Americans head to the polls Tuesday for the midterm elections, officials around the globe are watching to see if and how the balance of power will shift between Democrats and Republicans.
Kyiv has relied heavily on U.S. support throughout the eight-month war following Russia’s invasion in February, but concern has mounted in the war-torn nation that Washington’s support may weaken if Republicans gain control in Congress.
Polling has suggested that the GOP may be able to regain majority control in the lower chamber while races in the Senate remain highly contested.
Zelenskyy has largely refrained from commenting on the U.S. political scene as Americans gear up for several tight midterm races, but on Tuesday he urged Congress to continue its support no matter which party makes gains.
“When this war began, Ukraine heard something very important from the world – we heard that ‘the democracies are here.’ And we see now what democracies are capable of when they act in unity,” he said in an address after he was awarded the Medal of Liberty by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
“I call on you to maintain unwavering unity, as it is now, until that very day when we all hear those important words we have been dreaming of,” he continued. “Until we hear that peace has finally been restored.
“Democracies must not stop on their way to the victory,” he urged.
The U.S. has been the world’s top supplier of weapons, aid and financial support to Ukraine, providing $18.2 billion in security assistance since January 2021 – approximately $17.6 billion of which was provided since the February invasion.
While support for Ukraine has largely been a bipartisan issue in the Senate, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., threw the issue into question last month when he said Republicans would not write a “blank check” if they win back the lower chamber.
Polls released last month by Reuters showed that 75% of Americans still support aiding Ukraine against Russian President Vladimir Putin, but McCarthy and other hard-line lawmakers have claimed this support will not hold against rising inflation.
“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy told reporters in October.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., issued similar sentiments and pledged Friday that “under Republicans, not another penny will go to Ukraine” if the GOP wins the House.
“Our country comes first,” she added.
The Biden administration has worked to diminish concerns over U.S. support and, on Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield met with Zelenskyy and members of his leadership team “to discuss the unwavering U.S. commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
“She reiterated that the United States is steadfast in its support for Ukraine and is prepared to stand with Ukraine as long as it takes,” U.S. Mission to the United Nations spokesperson Nate Evans said. “She committed to continuing to work at the United Nations to strengthen international support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and to urge member states to defend international law and the charter of the United Nations.”