Ukraine warns of ‘World War 3’ ahead of long-stalled US Congress aid vote

Ukraine’s prime minister says ‘global system of security’ hangs in the balance as vote for US aid deal looms

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Thursday 18 April 2024 09:47 BST
Marjorie Taylor Greene says she 'seriously hates' members of Congress supporting aid to Ukraine

Ukraine’s prime minister has warned there will be a “third world war” if the country loses the war against Russia, as he rallied the US to pass a multi-billion Congress bill to boost the country’s defences.

Denys Shmyal said Ukraine needs “this money yesterday, not tomorrow, not today” as he spoke of the $61bn (£49bn) package.

It is understood that around $23.2 billion would be used to replenish US weapons, stocks and facilities.

Ukraine’s prime minister has warned there will be a “third world war” if the country loses the war against Russia (EPA)

The House of Representatives will vote on the Bill on Saturday, which also includes funding for Israel and the Indo-Pacific.

Speaking to the BBC in Washington DC on Wednesday, Prime Minister Shmyhal said: “If we will not protect... Ukraine will fall. So the global, the global system of security will be destroyed... and all the world will need to find... a new system of security.

“Or, there will be many conflicts, many such kinds of wars, and in the end of the day, it could lead to the Third World War.”

US president Joe Biden said in a statement on Wednesday he would sign the package into law immediately once passed by Congress “to send a message to the world: We stand with our friends”.

Ukraine has faced an increasingly deteriorating situation on the frontline as Western supplies run low (AFP via Getty Images)

The Ukraine measure includes a provision that economic assistance to Kyiv - not military - should be repaid, which was a conservative demand. However, the Biden administration could waive that requirement.

The House’s version of the aid bill pushes the Biden administration to provide long-range ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile Systems) to Ukraine, which could be used to target Russian supply lines.

The US has resisted sending those weapons out of concerns Moscow would consider them escalatory, since they could reach deeper into Russia and Russian-held territory.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal speaking at a news conference in Chicago (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Many conservative lawmakers have so far strongly opposed aid to Ukraine, especially those allied with former President Donald Trump, who has been a Ukraine aid skeptic. But defense secretary Lloyd Austin reminded lawmakers of Ukraine’s deteriorating situation on the ground.

“We’re already seeing things on the battlefield begin to shift a bit in Russia’s favor,” he said. “We are seeing them make incremental gains. We’re seeing the Ukrainians be challenged in terms of holding the line.”

It comes as the mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, is at risk of becoming “a second Aleppo” if the US does not finally push through the package.

The city, located roughly 30 miles from the Russian border, is among the worst hit of Russia’s recent long-range attacks targeting energy infrastructure across Ukraine. Russian forces have also fired deadly guided aerial bombs nicknamed “building destroyers”, some of which weigh more than a tonne, into dense civilian areas in the city.

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