‘Nervousness in Kyiv’ about support for war: Ex-ambassador


(NewsNation) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke in-person Wednesday to a joint meeting of Congress, and at least one goal was clear: shore up bipartisan support for more U.S. weapons.

Zelenskyy sought repeatedly to tie the war in Ukraine to a broader fight for independence and democracy around the world, ideals he said are backed by both countries. He expressed gratitude for the $20 billion in military assistance from the U.S., but pleaded for more.

“Is it enough? Honestly, not really,” he said, eliciting laughter from the chamber.

It was the Ukrainian leader’s first trip outside his country since Russia invaded in February, and it came as some Republicans have signaled waning interest in sending weapons and ammunitions to Ukraine. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said there will be no “blank check” when the GOP takes control of the House in January.

Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said Wednesday on “CUOMO” that Zelenskyy’s visit 10 months into the war shows there may be a “nervousness in Kyiv” about continued support for the war. During his address, Zelenskyy expressed the desire for “bicameral and bipartisan” backing.

“I do worry that you’ve had this wing of the Republican Party emerge, and it perhaps includes the person who may be the next speaker of the House, that have begun to question the value of supporting Ukraine in a way we haven’t seen before,” Pifer said. “That makes me nervous.”

Pifer served as ambassador to Ukraine from 1998 to 2000, the third person to hold the post following Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Prior to becoming ambassador, Pifer worked in the State Department, serving at U.S. embassies in London, Moscow and Warsaw, Poland.

Watch his interview above.

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