Ukraine downplays uncertainty over US support after funding Bill passes with no aid

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy signalled on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday that he is willing to make a deal to keep military assistance flowing to Ukraine, but that such an agreement would depend on Congress making significant changes to border security, including the way that migrants make asylum claims.

Republicans who support Ukraine make up the majority of GOP members in Congress, and one of them, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, predicted on Face the Nation that senators would draft an assistance proposal with US$60 billion or more to assist Kyiv “through the next fighting season.”

Mr Zelensky has sought to set the war in a long term perspective, and argued in an address on Sunday that Ukraine was at a “crossroads of history”.

“No one should and no one will manage to ‘switch off’ our resilience, endurance, grit and courage on either a scheduled or emergency basis,” he said. “They have no ‘expiration date,’ ‘end date’, or final point after which we would stop resisting and fighting, except for one – our victory.”

On Sunday, a nationwide moment of silence for fallen soldiers was held across the country – a tradition that Mr Zelensky said would be observed each year.

At 9am local time, church bells rang and people stopped in the streets of the capital.

Ukraine does not disclose military casualty figures, but US officials said in August that the country had suffered close to 70,000 killed and 100,000 to 120,000 wounded.

The toll, which the officials said is dwarfed by Russian losses, has continued to rise as Ukrainian forces wage a counter-offensive to retake land in the south and east of the country.

After months of bloody combat, little ground has changed hands in 2023 and Ukraine has not achieved a decisive breakthrough.

At the same time, Ukraine has intensified attacks on occupied Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014, in an attempt to disrupt Moscow’s supply lines.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Sunday that air defences intercepted two Ukrainian missiles over the occupied peninsula.

Falling debris damaged warehouses, but there were no casualties, the Russian state news agency Tass reported, citing the Moscow-appointed governor of Crimea, Mr Sergei Aksyonov.

The claim could not be independently confirmed.

Ukraine has also stepped up a campaign of drone attacks on military targets in Russia.

Five Ukrainian drones were intercepted on Sunday over the city of Smolensk in western Russia, the regional governor, Mr Vasily Anokhin, said on the Telegram messaging app.

Another was downed in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia, Tass reported, prompting temporary flight restrictions at Sochi Airport. NYTIMES

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