Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (right) attends a joint press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv, Ukraine November 4, 2023.
Thomas Peter | Reuters
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that the European Union’s approval of a 50 billion euro ($54 billion) aid package for the country sent a “clear signal” to Moscow about unity — and also to the United States, where the passage of further aid has stalled.
In his nightly address, Zelenskyy thanked EU leaders and said the four-year program would provide Ukrainians with financial guarantees for “social stability.” The first two tranches of delivery require a larger amount of 18 billion euros per year to shore up state resilience, he said.
“Europe has demonstrated exactly the kind of unity that is needed … This is a clear signal to Moscow that Europe will withstand and that Europe will not be broken by any destructive waves that the Kremlin always comes up with,” he added.
“But at the same time, it is a clear signal across the Atlantic that Europe is taking on commitments. Security commitments. Strong commitments. We are waiting for America’s decisions.”
U.S. President Joe Biden’s government has been pushing for congressional approval for $61 billion in fresh funding for Ukraine for months. However, a bill to secure it — which also includes funds for Israel and U.S. border security — failed to move through a political deadlock at the end of 2023.
The U.S. has been Ukraine’s biggest military supporter by far, but the Pentagon in December said it had delivered its last security assistance until new funds are released.
A redrafted version of the bill is expected to be released in the coming days, but still faces an uncertain passage through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, France’s Foreign Ministry confirmed Friday that two French humanitarian volunteers were killed in a Russian drone strike on Ukraine’s Kherson region, according to Reuters.
Three other French nationals and a Ukrainian national were reported wounded.