Vladimir Putin sees Hamas as a way to divert attention from Ukraine and as a second front in the fight against us, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Jim O’Brien told Congress. The official also warned that Congress suspending aid to Ukraine would be one of the biggest mistakes in generations.
– President Putin sees Hamas as a way to distract us and weaken the coalition we have built against him. “His reluctance to condemn what Hamas did on October 7, his reluctance to use any influence (…) is a sign that he prefers to see Hamas as a kind of second front against us,” said Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Jim O ‘Brien before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee during a debate on further aid Ukraine.
Both he and the representatives of the Department of State who appeared alongside him emphasized the need for Congress to adopt a spending package to help Ukraine, in particular economic assistance.
As O’Brien explained, thanks to the Ukrainian budget being supplied by USA Ukraine is able to focus all its budget expenditure on defense against Russiawhile money from the U.S. and other donors funds basic government services, including wages for law enforcement, teachers and health care.
He also added that Ukraine currently bears approximately 60 percent. the total costs of waging war. The last tranche was disbursed at the end of September, but further aid is not possible without Congress passing additional funds.
– Who will win if we don’t do this? President Putin says that if we leave Ukraine, it will fall within a week (…) President Putin recently hosted Hamas in Moscow, hosted the president of the DPRK, visited China. This is the coalition that is against us. And this is who will win if we leave, argued the top US diplomat responsible for Europe. He also agreed with the assessment that it would be “one of the biggest foreign policy mistakes in generations.”
Ukraine may be a key partner for the US
He also suggested that if the US withholds aid to Ukraine, Washington will not have sufficient influence on the reconstruction process in Ukraine, giving its influence in this matter to China.
Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources and former US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, in turn, spoke about the importance of supporting the Ukrainian energy sector, including the power grid, which will face an even more difficult winter this year than last year because Russia managed to degrade its energy production capacity Ukraine by approximately 50 percent
He also argued that in the long term, Ukraine could be a key partner for the US in the field of nuclear energy, helping America become independent from Russian uranium and develop nuclear energy in the region, including in Poland, which does not have such experience and resources in this field.
They both warned that “withdrawing halfway” would not only allow Putin to win when he was close to defeat, but would also ensure that the US would have to pay a higher price later when Russia focused on actions against Poland and the Baltic states.
Republicans are against further funding of Ukraine’s budget
The final fate and shape of a possible aid package for Ukraine is still unknown. The White House requested a package of additional over $105 billion related to support for Ukraine, Israel, Indo-Pacific countries and border protection. So far, the House of Representatives has only voted separately on the part devoted to Israel, while negotiations on the entire package are ongoing in the Senate.
However, as the head of the Senate committee Ben Cardin admitted, work on this issue is delayed and congressmen may not make it before the key date of November 17, when the current provisional budget expires and when Congress is to adopt a new short-term budget.
Some Republicans are against further funding of Ukraine’s budget, arguing that it should shoulder more of the burden in this matter European Union. However, as Cardin pointed out, Europe in total allocates more money to support Ukraine than the US, additionally hosting refugees and supporting Ukraine in energy to a greater extent than the US.
O’Brien, in turn, pointed out that the draft EU multiannual financial framework includes a plan to allocate EUR 50 billion to support Ukraine. “So if we fail to deliver this aid, we will call into question their efforts,” the diplomat said.
Main photo source: SPUTNIK POOL