Ukraine's Zelenskiy Cancels Speech To U.S. Senators To Urge Passage Of Military Aid

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy canceled an address to U.S. senators on December 5 as debate heated up on President Joe Biden's nearly $106 billion request for funding for the wars in Ukraine and Israel.

Zelenskiy had been expected to make Ukraine's case for continued American military aid as Ukraine braces for a difficult winter on the battlefield and as Russian shelling and strikes continue to kill civilians.

The Biden administration asked Congress in October to pass the aid package, which would cover not only aid for Ukraine and Israel but also border security, but the Republican-controlled House rejected the request.

Zelenskiy canceled his video address shortly after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky) told fellow Republicans to vote against the measure when it comes to the floor.

Earlier on December 5 House Speaker Mike Johnson delivered a hard-line message in which he said U.S. border security is "the battle," adding, "We do that first as a top priority, and we'll take care of these other obligations."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Democrat-New York) that Zelenskiy had canceled his speech to the classified briefing, which the Biden administration organized to underscore how desperately the aid is needed, warning on December 4 that American aid for Ukraine will dry up by the end of the year.

In a blunt warning, Biden's budget director Shalanda Young told Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson in a letter that the lack of U.S. military aid would "kneecap" the Ukrainian military's efforts, increasing Russia's chances on the battlefield.

"Already, our packages of security assistance have become smaller and the deliveries of aid have become more limited," Young wrote.

"If our assistance stops, it will cause significant issues for Ukraine. While our allies around the world have stepped up to do more, U.S. support is critical and cannot be replicated by others."

In Kyiv on December 5, Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot said the Netherlands increased its support for Ukraine, announcing 2.5 billion euros (nearly $2.7 billion) to support the country in 2024.

Bruins Slot told journalists after a meeting with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba: "My main message to Minister Kuleba was the same as to all of you here. Be assured of our support."

Bruins Slot said her country opened a training center for F-16s in Romania in November and is working with the United States, Denmark, and other countries to see that Ukraine can deploy the fighter jets as soon as possible.

The developments come as Ukrainian forces are locked in close combat with Russian troops around the industrial city of Avdiyivka. Russian forces have been attempting for several weeks to encircle the city in the eastern region of Donetsk that has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance.

Ukrainian troops repelled 23 Russian assaults in the Avdiyivka area, the General Staff said in its evening summary on December 5.

The summary said 70 combat clashes took place at the front during the day. According to the report, the Ukrainian military repulsed five attacks by Russian troops in the Kupyansk direction, 13 in the Lyman area, and nine in the Bakhmut area in addition to the 23 in the Avdiyivka area.

Ukrainian forces continue to hold back Russian forces in the Maryinka and nearby districts of the Donetsk region, where the enemy carried out 13 attacks with the support of aviation, the summary said.

Ukraine's Air Force said it shot down a Russian bomber over the Black Sea, and a Russian search-and-rescue aircraft was searching for it.

"Currently, the Russian An-26 search-and-rescue aircraft is trying to find Russian pilots in the waters of the Black Sea," Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said on Facebook.

The commander of Ukraine's Air Force, General Mykola Oleschuk, reported the downing of a Russian Su-24M bomber near Snake Island. According to Oleschuk, the Su-24M bomber tried to attack Odesa under the cover of an Su-30SM fighter jet.


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Key Words: Ukraine, Senate, Zelensky, Senate, Russia, War, U.S. Military Aid, U.S.-Ukrainian Relations

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