US Ambassador To Ukraine ‘1,000 Percent Sure’ Military Aid Will Continue, But Unsure When


(RFE/RL) — U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink said on February 20 that she is fully confident that Congress will approve additional funding for Ukraine but that it is not possible to predict when it will happen.

“I am 100 percent — 1,000 percent — sure that we will continue to support you in this,” Brink told journalists on February 20 in Kyiv.

A critical $61 billion aid package has been stalled in Congress for months over political differences, despite warnings from President Joe Biden that failure by the Republican-led House of Representatives to authorize it would play into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hands.

“This is a very political issue that I cannot predict. But I can say that we all present the most compelling arguments why it is necessary, why this is not an open-ended request, why it is really important for you to succeed not only on the battlefield but also to have economic security and independence,” Brink said.

She said she has spoken with House Speaker Mike Johnson (Republican-Louisiana) and knows that he supports Ukraine and “understands the importance of Russia losing the war.”

Brink said Biden and all the U.S. diplomats working on the matter are pushing hard to move it forward as quickly as possible.

“My message is this: You can’t waste time, you can’t waste a single day, not a single hour, not a single second. People die here every day,” she said, referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s comments over the weekend at the Munich Security Conference about the lack of weapons and the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from the city of Avdiyivka.

Zelenskiy said in his nightly video message on February 19 that delays in weapons deliveries had made the fight “very difficult” along parts of the front line and that Russian forces are taking advantage of the delays in weapons deliveries.

Putin on February 20 congratulated his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on capturing Avdiyivka and urged him to press Russia’s advantage.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said he and Oleksandr Syrskiy, commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, discussed the situation at the front and ammunition supplies in a phone call with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Syrskiy “gave updates on the current dynamics on the front line,” Umerov said on Facebook. “The common understanding of the situation and the action plan were discussed. The ammunition supply was in focus as well.”

On February 20, Sweden announced its biggest aid package since Russia launched its full-scale invasion two years ago — worth 7.1 billion Swedish kroner ($684 million). Sweden’s 15th aid package to date will provide Ukraine with combat boats, mines, artillery ammunition, and air-defense equipment among other supplies, Defense Minister Pal Jonson said at a press conference in Stockholm.

Canada, meanwhile, said it would expedite the delivery of more than 800 drones.

Earlier on February 20 in the northern Ukrainian region of Sumy, a Russian drone struck a house, killing five members of the same family, the regional administration said.

A mother, her two sons, and two other relatives died as a result of the strike in Nova Sloboda, a village about 6 kilometers from the Russian border. The house was completely destroyed, Ukrainian officials said.

The Prosecutor-General’s Office in Kyiv announced a war crimes investigation.

Ukrainian air defense forces said earlier that they had shot down all 23 drones launched by Russia at Ukraine’s territory on February 20.

Air raid alerts were declared for the Kirovohrad, Kherson, Mykolayiv, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, and Kharkiv regions, the military and regional officials said.

The Prosecutor-General’s Office is also investigating the alleged shooting of Ukrainian prisoners of war by Russian soldiers, which would also constitute a war crime.

A drone video emerged in which three Ukrainian soldiers were allegedly seen being shot in the Zaporizhzhya region after surrendering.

Ukrainian prosecutors had already begun investigating two other alleged shootings of prisoners of war near Avdiyivka and the town of Vesele in the Donetsk region.


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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