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Aid to Ukraine threatened by war between Israel and Hamas, says expert

Ukraine relies on US military aid to fight Russia
Ukraine relies on US military aid to fight Russia Copyright Evan Vucci/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Evan Vucci/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews
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This article was originally published in Portuguese

War in Israel favours Russia but the US has the financial muscle to fight on both fronts, Natasha Lindsteadt, Professor of Politics at the University of Essex tells Euronews.

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US support has been crucial for Ukraine in the war against Russia. In military aid alone, Washington has contributed more than €43 billion, which is more than the next ten donors combined.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy insists that more is needed - and the White House has guaranteed unconditional support - but the war between Israel and Hamas threatens to relegate Ukraine to second place on the international agenda.

Natasha Lindsteadt, Professor of Politics at the University of Essex, believes that "Russia has a lot to gain" from the current situation in the Middle East, since "the US will be a bit more distracted and there is a bit of fatigue, both in Europe and the US, about aid to Ukraine."

According to the political analyst, the situation is further complicated by domestic politics in the US.

"The Republicans, particularly the right-wing Republicans, don't want to continue helping Ukraine. The Ukrainians are going to have a real problem if the Republicans win majorities in the House and Senate and if Donald Trump wins the presidency because they've made it very clear that they don't want to continue supporting Ukraine."

The impasse is essentially political. Natasha Lindsteadt emphasises that in financial terms, the US has enough budget to finance the wars in Ukraine and Israel at the same time.

"The US has a huge military budget of over $800 billion (€755 billion). Aid to Ukraine is a very, very small part of that budget. And aid to Israel is also a very, very small part of that budget. I don't think the US wants to get directly involved in either of these wars, but there is definitely capacity, in terms of its budget, to support both."

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022.
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022.Andrew Harnik/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

Although US military support is conditional on next year's elections, Natasha Lindsteadt believes that leaders must not abandon Ukraine.

"The world cannot afford to let the Russians win. If we stop with Ukraine, who knows what will happen next? Russia has been very clear that it wants to expand its sphere of influence. It has a history of invading other countries, especially when Putin's approval rating is particularly good. I think that, given Russia's proximity to Europe's doorstep, there must be a genuine fear that Russia will continue to violate the rights of European countries, whether indirectly or directly."

While Vladimir Putin has not won many victories on the military front, the Kremlin's political influence continues to grow and is beginning to cause Brussels a serious headache.

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