Ukraine aid: turning point in Washington decisive for Kyiv?

After months of wrangling, the US House of Representatives has passed a 61-billion dollar aid package for Ukraine. A large proportion of Republicans also voted in favour. Around nine billion dollars will be granted as a loan and 23 billion will be used by the US to replenish it own military stockpiles. The US Senate is due to vote on the package today. Europe's press examines the implications of the decision.

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Irish Independent (IE) /

Manpower shortages remain a problem

International support alone is not enough for a turnaround, the Irish Independent points out:

“The influx of weapons should improve Kyiv's chances of averting a major Russian breakthrough in the east. ... But Kyiv still faces manpower shortages on the battlefield, while questions linger over the strength of its fortifications along a sprawling, 1,000-km front line. ... After months of debate, a law ... to overhaul the rules governing how Ukraine mobilises civilians into the army enters force in May with the aim of making the process faster, more transparent and effective. But new draftees will require months of training before they can be deployed, which in turn creates a 'window of opportunity' for Russia to exploit.”

De Standaard (BE) /

US isolationism is back

The approval of the military aid package for Ukraine does not mean that the US will go back to showing full commitment on the global stage, journalist Frans Verhagen warns in De Standaard:

“'America First', Trump's motto for his foreign policy, is more popular with the average American than President Biden's international view. All allies should be worried by the prospect of a Republican successor. We can't ignore it: isolationism is making a comeback. ... 'America First' may be a slogan with a tainted past, and those who use it dangerous opportunists, but isolationism is a sentiment deeply embedded in the American psyche.”

Kauppalehti (FI) /

Take the Russian threat more seriously

Europe should put more effort into supporting Ukraine, Kauppalehti demands:

“Although Europe's support for Ukraine is unconditional according to all statements, there have been various obstacles and restrictions to it so far. It seems that the aid provided to Ukraine is enough for it not to lose the war, but not enough for it to have a chance of winning it. ... Europe should take the danger posed by the war in Ukraine seriously. We should ask ourselves whether Vladimir Putin would really stop it if he won.”

Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

From yes-man to anti-opportunist

The Kleine Zeitung praises Mike Johnson, the Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives, whose courage made the vote possible:

“In a spectacular about-turn, Johnson, a Trump loyalist who had kept the government in Kyiv in suspense for several months, became an anti-opportunist. However, the vote on the Ukraine aid package is remarkable not only because Johnson is risking his neck politically for his convictions. It also shows that it's possible to follow his example and pursue policies with courage and attitude against the all-powerful Republican overlord Trump. On Saturday, not only did all Democrats vote in favour of supporting Ukraine, but also more than a hundred of the 213 Republicans.”

The Economist (GB) /

Immediate impact

This is the best news Ukraine has had in a year, says The Economist:

“The consequences for Ukraine will be nearly immediate, preventing serious setbacks on the battlefield in the near term and undercutting Russia's long-term belief that its war economy ... is an unstoppable juggernaut. America is planning to send 61bn to Ukraine in total. The vast majority of that will be spent on lethal aid by replenishing American military stockpiles, allowing more to be given away, and procuring new weapons and ammunition from American arms firms. The first priority is desperately needed shells. ... The hope is that it will be enough to fend off a larger-scale Russian offensive.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Worst case scenario averted

Lidové noviny comments with relief:

“Only die-hard optimists are betting that the war in Ukraine will end well. But even if it goes wrong, the extent to which it goes wrong is important - whether Russia keeps the territories it currently occupies or controls Ukraine as a whole and creates a kind of puppet state there. That is what pessimists fear. The outcome of the vote in the US House of Representatives should help to avert this pessimistic scenario. And after Saturday, it can be said that the risk of the war in Ukraine ending badly has decreased significantly.”

Konstantin Sonin (RU) /

Cameron and Duda on an important mission

The aid package was passed thanks to Donald Trump's change of stance, the US-based economist Konstantin Sonin writes on Facebook:

“Since last week, Trump has made it clear to the centre and centre-right Republicans in Congress that they could vote in favour of aid to Ukraine, just as they wanted to, and should not be swayed by his opposition to it. And he backed House Speaker Johnson, who otherwise would not have been able to put the issue to vote. What changed Trump's mind? In recent weeks he has been visited by public figures ranging from British Foreign Secretary Cameron to Polish President Duda. ... Of course, the fact that Ukraine enjoys strong support among US voters also played an important role.”

Sergey Fursa (UA) /

Delay has strengthened Ukraine

The months-long tug-of-war also had a positive side to it, blogger Sergey Fursa writes on Facebook:

“Yes, the US delay cost us dearly on the front. But on the other hand it has led to a more active Europe and a radical increase in EU support. ... And we're talking about the most important kind of support: military aid. ... It should also be noted that Trump has de facto come out in favour of supporting Ukraine. This has considerably reduced the risks that his potential victory in the elections entail. The ritual replacement of grants with loans that no one plans to repay is a symbolic step and does not change the core of the matter. We are effectively emerging from this phase in a stronger position.”

France Inter (FR) /

The puzzle is coming together

France Inter emphasises the strengths of the Ukrainian army:

“It has eliminated 20 percent of the Russian Black Sea fleet, and the country now has the new ability to manufacture drones on an industrial scale. According to the authorities, two million units could roll off the production lines this year alone. The Ukrainians are also displaying an increased ability to strike at depth. This week, for example, they caused major damage when they bombed a military base in Crimea. And finally, we must not forget that the F-16 fighter jets promised by several European countries are due to go into operation in a few months' time. ... If you take all these factors together and add the US aid, you can say that the Ukrainians still have reason to be hopeful.”

Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

Europe relies too much on the US

The EU itself should finally do more to help Ukraine, demands Ilta-Sanomat:

“Europe should really be ashamed of how much it has relied on US aid and how little it has achieved itself. ... US support is invaluable, but it's dangerous to rely on it. Presidential elections will be held in the US in November. If Donald Trump is elected, there is no guarantee that he will continue to support Ukraine. ... During his last term in office Trump already repeated several times that it was time for Europe to take more responsibility for its own security. ... Do we really want Trump to become the guarantor of European security? That's Russian roulette.”