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Zelensky suddenly cancels meetings with Congress amid funding row

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Zelensky was focusing on a "last-minute" matter, without further elaborating. 

Published: December 6, 2023 8:42am

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky suddenly canceled his meetings with Congress as U.S. lawmakers remain divided over providing further funding to support the European country's efforts to fight Russia.

Zelensky was scheduled to virtually appear before the House and Senate on Tuesday after his chief of staff Andriy Yermak warned earlier in the day that the country is in danger of losing the war without more U.S. military aid. However, the president's meetings were suddenly canceled, the BBC reported Wednesday. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Zelensky was focusing on a "last-minute" matter, without further elaborating. 

Zelensky was scheduled to appear via video at a classified Senate briefing, which still proceeded, but the meeting became chaotic when the topic of an aid package came up. 

The White House warned Monday that it is nearly out of money to fund Ukraine if Congress does not act. The Pentagon has already used about 97% of the more than $62 billion in Ukraine aid it received since Russia invaded the country in February 2022, while the State Department spent all of its $4.7 billion in assistance to the country, Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young said.

The White House asked Congress in October to approve a $106 billion aid package that includes $61 billion for Ukraine. Meanwhile, former Trump advisor Walid Phares voiced concerns last week that Russia may be preparing to launch a broader offensive that could alter the war narrative and have implications on potential negotiations for peace.

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