Ukraine received troubling news from two allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as it continues its counteroffensive effort against Russia to reclaim occupied territory.
NATO emerged as a crucial ally for Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a “special military operation” against the country in February 2022. The military alliance has provided Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars to bolster its defense effort, which has left the Russian military in a more tenuous condition, blunting any future military plans for Putin.
However, both the United States and Slovakia delivered bad news to Ukraine this week, threatening to upend the amount of humanitarian and military aid Kyiv receives as the war continues.
On Saturday, the U.S. Congress passed a 45-day short-term spending bill, which follows a weeks-long showdown that saw Republicans spar over how much funding should be cut by and other conservative priorities. Ultimately, the bill, known formally as a continuing resolution (CR), received bipartisan support, but does not include additional funding for Ukraine.
President Joe Biden, a staunch Ukraine supporter, requested $300 million for more weapons for Ukraine and to train its soldiers. But those funds were not included in the bill, as aid for the Eastern European nation has become a sticking point for House conservatives, who argue that money should be spent domestically instead.
The spending package has drawn questions about the future of U.S. support for Ukraine, as polls throughout this year have also shown slipping support for Ukraine aid. The U.S. has been one of Ukraine’s strongest allies, with Biden overseeing the transfer of billions of dollars to Kyiv.
Between January 2022 and July 2023, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with $46.6 billion in military aid, $3.9 billion in humanitarian aid and $26.4 billion in financial aid, totaling roughly $77 billion, according to a recent analysis from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). This means it has provided more than any individual nation, though the European Union (EU) institutions have provided more than $80 billion.
Still, supporters of Ukraine aid have vowed to continue efforts to get more assistance passed later on in a separate bill.
“We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted. I fully expect the Speaker [Kevin McCarthy] will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment,” Biden wrote in a statement following the passage of Saturday’s bill.
Slovakia Backs Pro-Russia Party
Meanwhile, Ukraine also received bad news on Sunday from Slovakia after Robert Fico, the leader of the country’s populist Smer-SD party, led his party to victory in Bratislava’s parliamentary elections.
Slovakia shares its eastern border with Ukraine and has provided it with Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets amid the Russian invasion. Fico, however, pledged to put a halt on military assistance from Slovakia, saying he would only support humanitarian aid packages. He has also opposed issuing sanctions against Moscow and ran on a pro-Russian message, according to the Associated Press.
In late September, Fico told United Kingdom’s The Telegraph that “arming Ukraine brings nothing but killing.”
Meanwhile, an Eurobarometer survey in August found a decline in the number of Europeans who support Ukraine aid.
The survey found that 24 percent of EU citizens said they “totally agree” with “financing the purchase and supply of military equipment and training to Ukraine,” compared to 33 percent who said they “fully approve” of this taking place in April 2022. Total support for providing Ukraine with military funding fell from 67 to 48 percent over the same period, with the percent of those against aid increased from 26 to 34 percent.
The survey polled 26,514 EU citizens across the 27 EU member states between August 24 and 31.
Newsweek reached out to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry for comment via email