Ukraine updates: US aid in question after shutdown aversion
The US has avoided a government shutdown with a bill that excluded new aid for Ukraine, but Biden said the assistance cannot be "interrupted."
US President Joe Biden has called on lawmakers to pass any necessary support for Ukraine in Congress after their bill to avert a government shutdown excluded new funding for Kyiv.
The latest move in Washington puts a halt on a Senate package that would have funneled $6 billion (€5.8 billion) to Kyiv, roughly a third of what the White House had requested. Still, a vote on a separate bill for Ukraine assistance is expected next week, according to US media reports.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary election in Slovakia saw the party of populist Robert Fico secure the most support, signaling that Bratislava might soon be changing its stance on military aid to Kyiv.
US bill to avert government shutdown excludes Ukraine package
US support for Ukraine has come under the spotlight as a bill to avert a government shutdown in Washington excluded new funding for Kyiv.
According to US media, a vote on a separate bill on $24 billion (€22.67 billion) in military assistance to Ukraine could be held next week.
But the latest move highlighted the increasing difficulty for US President Joe Biden to pass further financial assistance for Ukraine through Congress, as Republicans' resistance gains momentum.
"We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted," Biden said in a statement.
"I fully expect the [House Speaker] will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment."
In September, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Congress, where he sought to assure lawmakers that his military was winning the war, but stressed that more aid was necessary to keep up the fight.
US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican pressured by his conservative peers, had previously taken the stance of "no blank checks" for Ukraine, with the focus being on accountability.
But most recently, he described the Democratic Senate's approach as putting "Ukraine in front of America."
US assistance to Ukraine since Russia launched the war in February 2022 amounts to more than $43.9 billion.
Fico's win in Slovakia puts military aid to Kyiv on the line
Slovakia's former Prime Minister Robert Fico and his leftist party won the latest parliamentary elections after campaigning on a pro-Russian and anti-US rhetoric.
According to results from 99.2% of the vote, Fico's party led with 23.3%.
The country of 5.5 million people in eastern Europe has been a staunch supporter of neighboring Ukraine, but Fico's victory is feared to pose a strain to the unity in the EU and NATO.
The former prime minister has been against EU sanctions on Moscow, and he wants to block Kyiv from joining NATO.
Fico proposes that the West seek a compromise peace deal between Russia and Ukraine instead of arming Kyiv.
3 cargo vessels leave Ukrainian Black Sea ports: report
Three cargo ships believed to be carrying 127,000 metric tons of agricultural products departed Ukrainian ports on Sunday, Reuters news agency reported citing the MarineTraffic database.
The vessels are likely carrying products for China, Spain and Egypt, according to the report.
If confirmed, they would be the latest ships to depart Black Sea ports via Ukraine's so-called humanitarian corridor, which Kyiv set up after Russia quit a deal allowing the safe passage of Ukrainian agricultural exports.
Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said that three cargo ships were heading toward Ukrainian Black Sea ports for further food and steel exports.
Ukraine, Russia say downed drones over their territories
Ukraine's Air Forces said on Sunday that its air defense systems shot down 16 out of around 30 drones that Moscow launched on Ukrainian territory overnight.
The central Ukrainian region of Cherkasy was targeted by the attack, with its governor saying at least one person was injured as industrial infrastructure was hit.
"As a result, fires broke out in warehouses. In particular, where grain was stored," Cherkasy Governor Ihor Taburets said on Telegram, noting that the city of Uman.
Russian forces have repeatedly targeted Ukraine's grain infrastructure and export ports since Moscow withdrew from a UN-brokered deal that allowed the safe export of Ukrainian grain.
Separately, Russia said its air defenses shot down four Ukrainian drones over southern and western regions.
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Published: 02 Oct 2023, 1:17 PM