Ukraine is reportedly “freaking out” after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was removed as House speaker this week.
Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, an MP who chairs the committee on Ukraine’s integration into the EU, warned that America needs to be “getting things sorted out so American democracy can function.”
“We are freaking out,” Klympush-Tsintsadze told Politico in a report published Wednesday.
“For us, it is a disaster,” the top Ukrainian official said of McCarthy’s ouster.
“We are interested in getting things sorted out so American democracy can function, and so we can restore the bipartisan consensus on supporting their own national interest by supporting Ukraine.”
Ukraine officials are scrambling in the wake of McCarthy’s ouster.
The move was a shot to the “blank check” approach to Ukraine aid from President Joe Biden and the Democrats.
In public, Ukrainian officials are trying to put on a positive face and downplay the impact of the stoppage.
The aid was expected to be tens of billions more for next year.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova took a veiled swipe at D.C. lawmakers for putting America’s interests over Ukraine.
“Until a new speaker is elected, the House cannot vote on laws, but all other work, including in committees, continues,” Markarova said, according to Politico.
“For now Ukraine still has at least an additional $1.6 billion available for use for defense assistance (PDA) and $1.23 billion in direct budget aid, Markarova,” the ambassador said.
One Ukrainian official reportedly complained that Ukraine has become a “hostage” of Washington’s internal politics.
“Well, that’s a setup,” one Ukrainian MP told Politico.
“Honestly, we are watching for now,” said one Ukrainian government official, who asked not to be identified while discussing sensitive matters.
Ukrainian officials typically avoid expressing public criticism of partners so as not to seem ungrateful, the report notes.
But this week some have expressed shock over fears the flow of U.S. taxpayer money could dry up.
“There is nothing good, but, objectively, we have simply become hostages of their internal politics,” said Ukrainian lawmaker Yaroslav Zheleznyak, first deputy chairman of the parliament committee on finance, after the emergency U.S. budget deal was announced.
But Zhelezniak has also admitted that corruption is a major issue that has played a part in the withholding of external aid.
“The biggest (public) complaint about us is corruption,” he had earlier conceded in a weekend social media post.
I sympathize with this Tweet. I don’t begrudge Ukrainians for asking for help. What I do find problematic is when American taxpayers funding the war are called treasonous for worrying about the risks of escalation and the costs at a time when so many Americans can’t get a home. https://t.co/Xjcd44Dfru
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) October 4, 2023
“We have to go through these 45 days without a major corruption scandal,” he stated.
This comes even after Zelensky in the last two months fired a range of top officials.
Those fired included his longtime defense minister and a half-dozen other top defense officials.