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West must tell Ukraine how long support will last – security chief

The West does not have a clear picture of how the Ukraine conflict will end, Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Aleksey Danilov lamented in a TV interview on Friday.

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Danilov noted that the US and its allies have repeatedly stated that they will stand with Kiev “for as long as it takes.” However, the security chief said that the country’s Western backers have never specified that this would be until Ukraine is victorious.

“No one can clearly answer us what our victory means. They tell us: We will support you until… and then I have never heard them say the word ‘victory.’ They say, ‘Until you choose to make decisions yourself.’”

Danilov stressed that Kiev needs to know whether the West will stand by Ukraine until it wins the conflict or if its support will expire after a certain amount of time.

The security chief’s comments come after Ukrainian Finance Minister Sergey Marchenko admitted that the number of those willing to give Kiev money “is growing smaller and smaller” and that “there are many questions about how much taxpayers in those countries are willing to finance us.” 

Previously, Marchenko reported that the government’s monthly deficit is about $5 billion, with the budget receiving two-thirds of its funds from foreign loans and grants. 

Meanwhile, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby claimed this week that the Pentagon could only support Kiev for “a few weeks” if Congress failed to pass a new funding bill.

This comment came after some Republican lawmakers opposed President Joe Biden’s request for an additional $24 billion for Ukraine and have threatened a government shutdown unless funds for Kiev are dropped from the latest government funding bill.

“If leadership insists on funding another country’s government at the expense of our own government, all blame rests with their intransigence,” said Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, one of the Republican leaders opposing the bill.

Nevertheless, the US House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the US Congress, managed to approve $300 million in new aid to Ukraine on Thursday despite over half of GOP members opposing the move.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told The Economist that he was “sensing” weakening support from Western leaders. He warned that failing to support Ukraine was equivalent to siding with Russia.

The Ukrainian leader cautioned Western governments that they could lose elections and face trouble from outraged Ukrainian refugees that they have housed if they do not maintain their assistance to Kiev.

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