U.S. and Allies Reassure Ukraine of Staunch Support

Credit…Finbarr O’Reilly for The New York Times

With soaring inflation and energy prices in the United States and Europe stoking concerns in Ukraine that support for the war could wane, the United States and its allies sought to offer Ukraine strong assurances this week that their military and financial commitment to the war effort would not waver.

Worries in Kyiv and beyond that it could be more difficult for President Biden to get congressional approval for large infusions of aid for Ukraine were fanned last month when Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the top House Republican, said that if his party won a majority in next week’s midterm elections, its members would be unwilling to “write a blank check” to Ukraine.

In addition, last week, a group of House Democratic progressives sent and then withdrew a letter to Mr. Biden calling for a revised strategy and broaching the possibility of direct talks with Russia to resolve the conflict.

But Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, offered assurances on Friday during a visit to Kyiv that U.S. support for Ukraine remained strong and that aid would continue to flow after the vote.

“There will be no wavering” in American backing, Mr. Sullivan said at a news conference in a sandbagged conference room of the presidential office. “I’m confident U.S. support for Ukraine will be unwavering and unflinching.”

Mr. Sullivan’s pledge of support was buttressed on Friday when the Defense Department said it was setting up a new command to oversee how the United States and its allies train and equip the Ukrainian military, and the Pentagon announced a new package of $400 million in security assistance.

That brings to $18.9 billion the amount in military assistance that the United States has committed to Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24. The funds comprise a combination of immediate shipments from stockpiles as well as contracts for weapons to be delivered over the next three years.

The Pentagon’s commitment to supplying Ukraine with weaponry and the new command are clear signals that the United States expects the threat from Russia to Ukraine and its neighbors to persist for many years, current and former senior U.S. officials said.

The command will “ensure we are postured to continue supporting Ukraine over the long term,” Sabrina Singh, deputy Pentagon press secretary, told reporters at a news briefing in Washington. “We remain committed to Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

The new command, called the Security Assistance Group-Ukraine, or SAG-U, will streamline a training and assistance system that was created on the fly after the Russian invasion in February. The revamped assistance program will be led by a high-ranking general based in Germany and have a staff of about 300.

Washington’s staunch support for Ukraine was echoed on Friday at a meeting of the Group of 7 nations in Münster, Germany, where top diplomats from the world’s most developed economies — France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, Britain and Canada — said they would work together to rebuild critical infrastructure in Ukraine.

The countries also discussed sending more defensive military equipment to Ukraine to help it ward off missile and drone attacks by Russia that are crippling Ukraine’s infrastructure, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Friday.

“We’re focusing more of our security support on helping Ukraine protect against these attacks, strengthening air defenses and ramping up defense production,” Antony J. Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, said at a news conference in Münster.

The diplomats also talked about how to keep global energy prices from surging because of the war, an American official said. A partial embargo on Russian oil is expected to go into effect in early December, which could lead to a sharp rise in oil prices if the allied countries do not use a proposed price cap mechanism to get Russia to keep selling its oil to some of the Group of 7 nations, but at a lower price.





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