President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have been speaking by phone routinely at this point.
However, one very specific phone call between the two leaders back in June played out significantly differently from previous ones.
Biden didn't even finish telling Zelenskyy that he’d greenlighted another $1 billion in U.S. military assistance for Ukraine when Zelenskyy started listing out all the additional help he needed and has not been getting.
In a turn of events, Biden lost his temper. America has been extremely generous, and the administration and the U.S. military are working hard to help Ukraine, Biden said, his voice rising, and Zelenskyy should show a little more gratitude.
Administration officials stated that Biden and Zelenskyy’s relationship has slowly improved since the phone call, perhaps due to Zelenskyy making a statement praising the U.S. for its generous assistance.
However, the clash reflects Biden’s early awareness that both congressional and public support for sending billions of dollars to Ukraine could begin to fade.
Currently, Biden is facing resistance from Republicans and Democrats that weren’t present when Congress approved previous Ukraine funds.
The White House has also discussed asking Congress for billions of dollars during the lame-duck legislative session after the midterm elections.
The White House hasn’t specified any particular amounts publicly but lawmakers and Ukraine lobbyists are hoping for $40 billion to $60 billion, and some officials are expecting the number to be roughly $50 billion.
Top U.S. officials have given a warning there are currently no signs that the war is ending any time soon.