Ukraine "concerned" about U.S. Republican threats to cut aid, FM says

A soldier of Ukraine's 5th Regiment of Assault Infantry fires a US-made MK-19 automatic grenade launcher towards Russian positions on Oct. 12. Photo: Dave Clark/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told Axios he is concerned about recent threats by senior U.S. Republican lawmakers to cut aid to Ukraine if they win control of the House in next month's U.S. midterm elections.

Why it matters: Any U.S. cuts to Ukraine aid would deal a significant blow to Kyiv and could alter the course of the war.

Driving the news: House minority leader Kevin McCarthy signaled in an interview with Punchbowl News last week that Republicans are not going to "write a blank check" to Ukraine at a time of economic recession.

  • “We are concerned with these statements. We believe they are unfair. But I think we'll fix it and I am certain that we will handle these risks effectively and that aid to Ukraine will not be cut," Kuleba told Axios.

The Ukrainian foreign minister noted that Ukraine has historically received bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress. "And we will work with both Republicans and Democrats to make sure that the aid continues," he said.

  • "People make political statements before elections and pursue different policies after the elections. There may be some voices, they may be influential. I don't say that we are not concerned. We are. But I think we will be able to handle it," he added.

The big picture: There was strong bipartisan support for giving aid to Ukraine early in the war, but House Republicans have expressed skepticism about providing additional military support as the war drags on.

  • In May, 57 House Republicans voted "no" on a $40 billion aid package to Ukraine.
  • The number of lawmakers opposed to such packages is poised to rise after the midterms, especially if more skeptical GOP candidates are swept into Congress, Axios' Andrew Solender and Zachary Basu write.

Yes, but: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has recently called for "additional air defenses, long-range fires, and humanitarian and economic support" for Ukraine.

  • For his part, President Biden has repeatedly reaffirmed his administration's support for Kyiv and last week alluded to McCarthy's remarks, saying: "I don’t understand the threat that they’re saying they may have to stop funding the Ukrainians in their war against this brutal dictator.”

Go deeper:

  • Zelensky slams Israel, suggests Russia will help Iran with its nuclear program
  • Ukraine's FM criticizes Israeli politicians who boasted about friendships with Putin
  • Ukrainian foreign minister on Russia's "dirty bomb" claim: "Drink less dirty vodka"

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