“We are freaking out. For us it is a disaster,” Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, an MP who chairs the committee on Ukraine’s integration into the EU, told Politico in a report published Wednesday. “We are interested in getting things sorted out so American democracy can function, and so we can restore the bipartisan consensus on supporting their own national interest by supporting Ukraine.”
Now Ukraine officials are scrambling in the wake of Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s ouster as House speaker in a move widely seen as a direct shot at the Biden admin’s ‘blank check’ approach Ukraine aid.
In public, Ukrainian officials are trying to put on a positive face and downplay the impact of the GOP-led blockage of what was an expected tens of billions more in defense aid for next year. “Until a new speaker is elected, the House cannot vote on laws, but all other work, including in committees, continues,” Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova has said.
“For now Ukraine still has at least an additional $1.6 billion available for use for defense assistance (PDA) and $1.23 billion in direct budget aid, Markarova, the ambassador, said,” wrote Politico.
But below is a key section of the report, wherein a Kiev official expresses that Ukraine has become a hostage of Washington internal politics:
Privately, however, there is dismay and confusion in Kyiv.
“Well, that’s a setup,” one Ukrainian MP told POLITICO.
“Honestly, we are watching for now,” said one Ukrainian government official, who asked not to be identified while discussing sensitive matters.
Ukrainian officials typically avoid expressing public criticism of partners so as not to seem ungrateful. But this week some have expressed shock.
“There is nothing good, but, objectively, we have simply become hostages of their internal politics,” said Ukrainian lawmaker Yaroslav Zheleznyak, first deputy chairman of the parliament committee on finance, after the emergency U.S. budget deal was announced.
But Zhelezniak has also admitted that corruption is a major issue which has played a part in the withholding of external aid. “The biggest (public) complaint about us is corruption,” he had earlier conceded in a weekend social media post.
I sympathize with this Tweet. I don’t begrudge Ukrainians for asking for help. What I do find problematic is when American taxpayers funding the war are called treasonous for worrying about the risks of escalation and the costs at a time when so many Americans can’t get a home. https://t.co/Xjcd44Dfru
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) October 4, 2023
“We have to go through these 45 days without a major corruption scandal,” he stated. This comes even after Zelensky in the last two months fired a range of top officials, including his longtime defense minister and a half-dozen other top defense officials.