Joe Biden invites Zelensky to the White House amid internal crisis over aid to Ukraine

by time news

2023-12-10 23:07:54

This Sunday, US President Joe Biden invited his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to the White House for a meeting next Tuesday and to underline “the unwavering commitment” of his Government to kyiv.

As Russia escalates its missile and drone attacks against Ukraine, the leaders will discuss Ukraine’s urgent needs and the vital importance of continued US support at this critical time.”said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre in a statement.

At the meeting, which takes place when the funds approved by the United States for Ukraine are about to run out, the Biden Government will show its intention to “support the people of Ukraine in their defense against Russia’s brutal invasion“, he pointed.

On December 6, Republicans blocked the approval in the United States Senate of a budget project of about 105 billion dollars that included items to support Ukraine and Israel.

In exchange for their votes, the conservative caucus demands restricting US immigration laws, particularly the asylum system, and eliminating a series of humanitarian permits for migrants.

A budget extension was approved last November and legislators have until February to negotiate the fiscal budget for fiscal year 2024which has already started.

However, the White House warned last Monday that at the end of the year the US Government will not have money to support Ukraine and will be left without resources to acquire more weapons and equipment for kyiv.

With less than a week before the United States Congress leaves for Christmas break, Zelensky’s visit will be key, therefore, to pressure Congress on the need to act quickly.

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Till the date, The United States has provided $111 billion in financing to support Ukraine.

The project, which was rejected last Wednesday by the 49 Republican senators of the Upper House, includes more than 61 billion in military aid for kyiv and about 14 thousand for Israel.

According to the leader of the conservative caucus in the Senate, Mitch MacConell, his party will not support any budget package if immigration restrictions are not imposed in exchange.

“As we have said for weeks, legislative projects that do not include changes that strengthen security at our borders will not be approved in the Senate,” the senator said on voting day.

For their part, Democrats have insisted that, for them, it is vital to continue supporting Ukraine and Israel. In a speech on Wednesday, Biden even indicated that he is willing to make concessions on immigration issues in exchange for the disbursement.

“I am willing to make important concessions on the border. We need to fix the border system. It doesn’t work. And so far I haven’t gotten an answer,” Biden said in an appearance before the press at the White House.

Among the Republicans’ requests is to change the law that allows a person to request asylum on US soil, imposing greater requirements for those seeking protection, according to leaks to US media about the negotiations.

Conservatives are also calling for limiting the use of “parole,” a legal figure that allows immigration authorities to allow people to enter the country for humanitarian reasons.

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