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Huge Financial ‘Burden’ of Ukraine Support Driving ‘Fatigue’ in US, Europe

 / Go to the mediabankA destroyed tank of the Ukrainian armed forces in the Russian special operation zone in Ukraine. File photo / Go to the mediabankInternationalIndiaAfricaIn Europe and the US, a kind of “Ukraine fatigue” is setting in, creating a political hole into which voices opposed to endless funding of Kiev’s military operations have been able to step, experts told Sputnik. As the hopelessness of Ukraine’s position and the futility of arming them becomes impossible to ignore, that hole will only widen.Dan Kovalik, an American human rights and labor rights lawyer and peace activist and professor at the University of Pittsburgh, told Radio Sputnik’s The Final Countdown on Thursday that because Democrats had staked their political reputations on being stalwart supporters of Ukraine and opponents of Russia, some Republicans had become more willing to depart from their longstanding pro-interventionist positions and oppose the Biden administration’s policies.“This is the first time Congress has really pushed back on funding for Ukraine. So I think this is significant, but it does appear, it’s a very strong likelihood, that this is only temporary, that they will probably come up with more funding, I’m hearing the number of $6 billion instead of the $24 billion which Biden wants. So a lot less than Biden wants, a quarter of what Biden wants, but my guess is they will probably approve something along those lines within the next several weeks.”Kovalik noted that military aid for Ukraine was likely to remain a contentious issue as the House selects a new Speaker, following Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) ouster by dissident Republicans on Tuesday – a faction that has been sharply critical of such aid.

"I think it's going to be a fight and I think they'll probably settle for something, less, a lot less than Biden wants. I'd be shocked if they weren't if they gave them nothing – I'd be happy, by the way, if they gave them nothing, I've been advocating for that for a long time – but I'd be surprised," Kovalik said.

“But I mean, they got rid of McCarthy because, you know, he was willing to make a deal over Ukraine and they really don’t want to do that,” he noted.AnalysisMcCarthy’s Ouster Signals US ‘Preparing Populace at Large’ to Defund UkraineYesterday, 12:39 GMTKovalik pointed out that in addition to the moral and financial fatigue of supporting Kiev, the Pentagon was also facing very practical troubles with replenishing the vast quantity of weapons it had passed to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Earlier this week, Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord told leading lawmakers there is only $1.6 billion left of the $25.9 billion given them to replenish those weapons stocks.“The irony is the US has offshored so much of its industry, it’s hampered its military-industrial complex. Yes, the Russians have just been eating up all of NATO’s munitions. That’s why Biden decided to send the cluster bombs, by the way … because we didn’t have anything left to send to Ukraine. So there are some realities that are sinking in, that we just can’t keep this up anymore.”“But it’s kind of interesting also, you know, who’s taking positions on this that seem very dovish – it’s the more extreme Republicans that are doing that,” Kovalik noted.That said, Texas Republican US Sen. John Cornyn has suggested a different method of dealing with Ukraine fatigue from having massive aid bills constantly in the news.”It’s obvious that there’s some fatigue. And so my own view is we need to do it one time,” Cornyn said on Monday. “We don’t want to do this again every three months. Obviously, that’s open for discussion. But I’m for one and done.”Kovalik told the hosts that Cornyn’s idea would be “insane” and “the worst of all worlds.”

"It allows both parties to insulate themselves politically from that type of decision. The goal would be, 'we'll just send you a lot of money now, a year's worth of money, and then we can all go into 2024 elections and not have to be debating this issue,' when this is the issue that should be debated. And that's been a problem all along – there's very little debate on this issue. Finally, we're getting some. To do what is being suggested would take this out of any political debate for a year and I think that is very, very dangerous," he said, adding, "I don't think it's realistic because if the speaker of the House was thrown out over the Ukraine funding issue, there is not going to be a taste for giving a huge amount of money to Ukraine as kind of a pre-payment for the year."

Kovalik said he thought Congress would have to be the institution to act if the US support for Ukraine that was keeping the conflict going was going to end, as Biden wouldn’t want to be seen as a loser going into the 2024 elections.AmericasAlmost Half of Americans Say US Military Aid for Ukraine Not Worth Expense – Poll4 October, 17:19 GMT”Sadly, I think as far as the Biden administration is concerned, I think they are in this to the end. I don’t see them backing off this. I think that they do not want to be seen as losers in this war before the 2024 election and will try to keep the war going for that reason, because if it did end now, it would be Russia’s victory. I think in the end it’s going to take a new administration to change the policy on this – unfortunately, because such an administration is well over a year away and a lot of damage will be done in the meantime. But I just don’t see Biden backing it off. But again, maybe Congress will intervene and force his hand in that regard.”Elijah Magnier, a veteran war correspondent with 35 years of experience in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, told Radio Sputnik’s Fault Lines on Thursday that in Europe, the progression of Ukraine fatigue in the political arena had advanced much further than in the US, with a new prime minister in Slovakia, Robert Fico, recently elected on a platform in support of immediate peace talks between Kiev and Moscow.

"The EU budget for 2023 was €168.16 billion, so to pay €5 billion is really a very insignificant amount for the EU countries. However, going to Kiev for all the ministers of foreign affairs to meet was a symbolic meeting to tell the world that ‘we are still united’ – but they are not united, because they failed to pay Ukraine and they failed to acknowledge the suggestion of people like Josep Borell, who acts more or less like the EU foreign minister,” he said, noting the ongoing fight in the European Parliament over several Ukraine aid package proposals.

“Now, that has several reasons. First of all, the position of the US, that it has failed to allocate a new budget to the Ukrainians. Secondly, because of what [then-US House Speaker] Kevin McCarthy, before he was pushed out, rightly said, ‘Where is your victory?’ when Zelensky visited him in Washington.””So after four months of counteroffensive, the Ukrainian MPs and officials are saying ‘the only thing we have managed is to recover 1% of the lost territory’. So recovering 1% of the lost territory when you have 50 nations sitting in one place in Ramstein in Germany, planning and supporting the war and supporting in logistics, intelligence, guiding the war, sending all the assets, all the military support they can, pushing Europe to empty their warehouses, and at the end of the day, ‘we managed to recover 1% and the winter is knocking on our doors’. So that is a really slim victory for the tens of billions of dollars and euros that have been invested in this war,” Magnier pointed out.Analysis’Slovak Orban’: How Fico’s Election Win May Bolster EU Divisions on Ukraine29 September, 16:50 GMTMagnier noted that by comparison, Russia has recovered a large part of territory since the start of the special military operation in February 2022, the Russian economy is not “on the floor,” and Russia is united in its cause.”Russia is producing less oil, but getting more money, because oil prices are rising above $80 and reaching between $90 and $97, depending on the day, and there is solidarity among the oil producing-countries not to increase the production. This is why the market, particularly the European, that is, an industrialized continent, is starving from energy and it’s paying money that it doesn’t have.”

"So at the end of the day, by the lack of unity in Europe, the position of Hungary, the position of Slovakia … we don't know what's going to happen in Poland on the 15th of October, maybe the prime minister will no longer remain in place and we’ll have possibly another person who also is fed up with financing the war, like Viktor Orban of Hungary and other European leaders. But at the end of the day, when we had the Europeans, like the minister of defense of the Netherlands, saying that Ukraine is a very cheap way to ensure that the Russian Federation does not pose a threat to NATO, it is just inviting the Europeans to be united because of the lack of unity," he said.

“So we understand now that Ukraine is becoming a burden, not only on the US population and those who are anti-war and against the US administration’s policy to continue and pushing the whole world, particularly the Western world, toward a possible third world war/ Because every time Russia is pushing back the Ukrainians and all the Western support, Ukraine is failing, then the Americans are increasing in supplying Ukraine with more lethal and destructive weapons, just to push Russia to act outside the ‘control area’.“Well, it is not happening this way, because Russia is still in control. It is not going beyond the limit that is permitted,” he noted.AmericasUS Has Funds To Continue Providing Kiev Aid For Coming Weeks: Kirby on Potential Shutdown29 September, 19:52 GMT“The world is waking up, what’s happening with Ukraine is going nowhere. The Ukrainians are feeling very embarrassed because of this dim result and because they have less and less men. We heard how the UK former defense minister asked the Ukrainians to send not only women to the battlefield, but to start from the age of 18 to 60, so they can fight, because there are no more men to fight on the battlefield. So we understand that Ukraine is exhausting all its resources, Ukraine is exhausting European resources. The Americans have less appetite to supply Ukraine because the results are slim and Russia is [doing] better than ever, and there is a shortage in the market that is causing inflation and the devaluation of the currency in Europe and in the US. While on the other hand, we also see China rising, increasing power in the industrial and economic platform, and we see all the rest of the world that is supporting the war in Ukraine is sinking. So this is why we don’t have any more appetite to support Ukrainians, and there is no longer unity among Europe.”

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