Ukrainian minister says country has no ‘Plan B’ without US military aid

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has said this was the message he relayed to American counterpart Antony Blinken

Ukraine does not have a ‘Plan B’ for the conflict with Russia if the US Congress refuses to approve more military aid for Kiev, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has said.

The diplomat told Ukraine’s Rada broadcaster on Thursday that this was the message he had impressed on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier the same day, when the pair met on the sidelines of the G7 foreign ministers’ summit on the Italian island of Capri.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has been unable to push another $60 billion in assistance for Kiev through Congress since the autumn, amid a bitter standoff between Democrats and Republicans over immigration and border security.

House Speaker Mike Johnson announced earlier this week that he will put a standalone Ukraine aid bill to a vote on Saturday, while Biden has promised to sign the legislation if it passes.

Kuleba declined to speculate about the outcome of the vote, saying that “so many battles have been fought around this bill – and will continue to be fought – let’s just wait for the result.” 

He reiterated, however, that for Ukraine there is no alternative to US military support, which has already amounted to over $111 billion since the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022.

“I have always said that we do not need a Plan B because our Plan A is making the strongest possible decisions for Ukraine, not half-decisions. And today I reminded the secretary of state about this: ‘Look, I don’t have any Plan B, Plan A must work – passing a strong bill,” the foreign minister said.

Kuleba claimed that Blinken “supported me and said that we should be focused exclusively on strong decisions for Ukraine, that is, on Plan A.” 

On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky blamed the decline in Western military aid for Russian military advances, admitting that Moscow’s forces are “putting pressure on us at the front and are gradually moving.” 

Russia has repeatedly warned that foreign weapons deliveries to Kiev will not prevent Moscow from achieving its military goals, but will merely prolong the fighting and could increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO. According to Russian officials, the provision of arms, intelligence-sharing, and training of Ukrainian troops means that Western nations have already become de facto parties to the conflict.