Biden says failure to pass Kyiv aid bill will be ‘Christmas gift’ for Putin

Republicans have so far blocked the bill, demanding concessions from Mr Biden on border control as the price of their support.

Mr Biden said “Russian loyalists” in Moscow had “celebrated” last week when Republicans voted to block more aid for Ukraine.

“The host of a Kremlin run show literally said and I quote, ‘well done Republicans, that’s good for us,’” Mr Biden said, before warning that “if you’re being celebrated by Russian propagandists, it might be time to rethink what you’re doing.

“History will judge harshly those who turn their back on freedom’s cause.”

Pressed on whether had heard what he had wanted from US politicians during his visit, Mr Zelensky said he had received “more than positive” signals. He added: “But we know that we have to separate words and particular results.”

Mr Zelensky added that it is “very important that by the end of this year we can send a very strong signal of our unity to the aggressor.”

Earlier on Tuesday, US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said it would be “practically impossible” for Congress to pass a supplemental funding package including aid for Ukraine before Christmas.

Mr McConnell said a deal will not happen until Mr Biden reaches an agreement with Republicans.

Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator, said he had used the meeting to tell Mr Zelensky he should be thankful to Mr Johnson that a bill on Ukraine spending could even make it to the floor of the House of Representatives, despite the lengthy delay.

Speaker Mike Johnson has insisted any more funding for Ukraine must be tied to stringent border measures to appease Republicans who are concerned about illegal migration from Mexico.

“I said you need to thank Mike Johnson for being willing to pass a package if border security is in it, because half his conference probably doesn’t agree with that,” Mr Graham said, adding that Mr Zelensky had nodded in response.

The White House has said it is willing to negotiate and is optimistic a bill can pass by the end of the year, but has failed to reach an agreement with the GOP in either the Senate or the House. 


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