U.S. President Joe Biden spoke by phone with key allies on October 3 to reassure them that the Washington will stand fast on Ukraine after funding for U.S. aid to help Kyiv’s war effort was dropped from a stopgap spending measure passed by Congress over the weekend.
The call came as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy traveled to the front line in eastern Ukraine’s regions of Kharkiv and Donetsk where he met with troops engaged in fighting with attacking Russian forces.
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said Biden assured allies of continued U.S. support for Ukraine and of his strong conviction that Congress will not walk away. Biden explained the situation after Congress passed and he signed legislation that keeps the U.S. government funded through mid-November but which excluded billions of dollars to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
“He assured us that there is backing for the continuing support for Ukraine, first of all for the military support. He said that he will get that backing in the Congress,” Duda said at a news conference in Kielce, Poland.
Duda said Biden called on the allies to continue their support for Ukraine and that all the leaders assured him that they would.
“All of us…are determined to continue supporting Ukraine,” Duda said.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on X, the social media platform formerly called Twitter, that it was a “good call,” adding that “we are all committed to supporting #Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
Others joining Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the call were the leaders of Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Romania, Britain, the European Commission, and the European Council. France’s foreign minister also participated, the White House said.
While Biden told the leaders that he is “confident” Congress will agree to fund new assistance for Ukraine, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned that U.S. aid will only last “perhaps a couple of months or so,” adding that it is vital to help Kyiv’s slow-moving counteroffensive before winter sets in.
“Time is not our friend,” Kirby told reporters. “We have enough funding authorities to meet Ukraine’s battlefields needs for a bit longer, but we need Congress to act.
Biden made the call after reports that Zelenskiy had visited brigades fighting in one of the hot spots of the war, the Kupyansk-Lyman direction “where Russian occupiers constantly attempt to attack our positions,” Zelenskiy said.
“We met with brigade and battalion commanders to discuss the battlefield situation, pressing issues, and needs,” he said on X, adding, “I thank them for their service!”
Zelenskiy’s visit to the front line came as fighting continued in the south and east, where Ukrainian and Russian forces have been engaged for months in close-quarters combat operations.
In the southern region of Kherson, Russian shelling killed two people and wounded seven others over the past 24 hours, regional Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said on Telegram on October 3.
“The Russian military targeted residential areas in the region, educational institutions, a church, the headquarters of a humanitarian organization, a shopping center, an auto center, a factory and a critical infrastructure facility in Kherson [city],” Prokudin said.
Kherson, which was partially liberated by Ukrainian troops one year ago, has been constantly targeted by Russian shelling from across the Dnieper River.
Russia also launched a fresh wave of Iranian-made drones on the Mykolayiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions overnight, Ukraine’s air defense said early on October 3, adding that it had shot down 29 out of the 31 drones. One Russian cruise missile was also destroyed, the air defense said.
Ukraine’s southern command said the attack lasted more than three hours.
In the town of Pavlohrad, in Dnipropetrovsk region, a Russian drone struck an industrial enterprise, causing a fire, regional Governor Serhiy Lysak said on Telegram.
“The fire has already been extinguished, but there is destruction among the production facilities,” Lysak said.
On the battlefield, Ukrainian forces fought 35 close-quarter battles over the past 24 hours as they pressed with an offensive in the Bakhmut area of the eastern Donetsk region and in the direction of the southern city of Melitopol, the General Staff of the Ukrainian military said in its daily report on October 3.