A former top Air Force general says “Chinese leaders are watching” to see if U.S. leaders support Kyiv when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the White House and Capitol Hill on Thursday to plead for more aid.
Retired Gen. Philip Breedlove, the former NATO supreme allied commander, said continued aid from the U.S. and Western allies will make the difference in whether Russian President Vladimir Putin is stopped.
Some House Republicans are deeply skeptical of providing new aid, making Mr. Zelenskyy’s pitch a challenge.
The retired general says U.S. support will have far-reaching ramifications as Beijing exerts itself in the South China Sea and around the world.
“Now is not the time to allow partisan politics to get in the way of supporting an ally that is fighting for freedom, as well as their own existence. Ukrainians need our help,” Gen. Breedlove said. “Make no mistake, the Chinese leaders are watching to see if we are serious about defending ourselves and our vital partners. The consequences if we fail to support Ukraine will be dire and far-reaching.”
President Biden made a similar point on the first day of the U.N. General Assembly as he contends with growing skepticism in Washington and in capitals in the developing world over aid and military support for Ukraine as the war reaches the 19-month mark.
“If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?” Mr. Biden said Tuesday in his speech to world leaders in Manhattan.
Mr. Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with Mr. Zelenskyy at the White House on Thursday afternoon.
The White House has requested an additional $24 billion for Ukraine aid from Congress. Some Republicans want to cut off funding or see Europe take the lead in footing the bill. Others want a closer auditing of where the money is going.
Russia launched a fresh wave of attacks on Ukraine ahead of the Washington meetings, underscoring Mr. Zelenskyy’s plea. Ukraine’s military said it managed to shoot down 36 of 43 missiles launched by Russia in the widespread attacks on civilian infrastructure.
Gen. Breedlove, speaking to CNN recently, said Mr. Biden could also be doing more to help the Ukrainians.
“We have not given them everything they need. If our forces were on the ground fighting in Ukraine, we would be doing it under battlefield air superiority,” he said. “We have not provided Ukraine the ability to establish battlefield air superiority, and their troops are suffering because of it.”