When Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid a surprise visit to Kyiv this week, he not only promised over $1 billion in new aid to Ukraine but also reaffirmed the Biden administration’s focus on climate change by reiterating an earlier commitment to provide $520 million to help Ukraine develop “cleaner” energy. Mr. Blinken made these statements during a joint press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, which covered various types of support, including humanitarian, military, and infrastructure. The new funding includes more than $665 million in new military and civilian security assistance, as well as $203 million to support transparency and accountability in Ukraine’s institutions as part of their reform efforts for rule of law and anti-corruption.
“We’re making new investments to enhance the transparency of Ukraine’s institutions and to bolster the rule of law so that Ukraine’s democracy is even more responsive to the needs of its people and can attract the private capital needed to rebuild,” Mr. Blinken said.
Mr. Blinken also reminded his Ukrainian counterpart that the Biden administration intends to fulfill an earlier pledge for another half a billion dollars to help Ukraine transition to cleaner energy. “At the Ukraine Recovery Conference held in London a few months ago, I pledged that the United States would invest more than $520 million in making Ukraine’s energy infrastructure—more than half of which has been destroyed by Russia—cleaner, more resilient, and more integrated with Europe,” Mr. Blinken stated.
Former President Donald Trump reacted to Mr. Blinken’s statements, expressing apparent incredulity on social media. President Trump wrote on Truth Social, “We just sent $520,000,000 to Ukraine to ‘make their energy cleaner.'”
President Trump has been critical of the Biden administration’s energy policies, arguing that President Biden is prioritizing a misguided fight against an exaggerated threat of climate change. President Biden aims to halve U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as part of the global effort to combat global warming. His efforts extend to military vehicle emissions, with President Trump ironically pointing this out in a follow-up post on Truth Social: “The Biden Administration wants to now make our Army Tanks all Electric so that, despite the fact that they will not be able to go very far, fewer pollutants will be released into the air.”
President Biden pledged to make all military vehicles electric by 2030 on “Earth Day” last year, a statement that analysts found eyebrow-raising. Critics argued that making every military vehicle “climate-friendly” would increase risks for service members and bankrupt the Department of Defense.
While Mr. Blinken was in Ukraine, expressing the United States’ commitment to empowering Ukraine and assisting with their long-term security, there was less enthusiasm for more aid in Congress. President Biden’s latest request for Ukraine assistance faced hurdles as factions of Republicans debated federal spending ahead of a looming October government shutdown. President Biden requested $40 billion in additional spending, including $24 billion for Ukraine and other international needs and $16 billion in disaster relief. The Senate and House of Representatives are due to consider this request, potentially adding it to a short-term spending bill to keep the government open while they debate a budget for the next year. The Republican-majority House is divided on the aid, with some members calling for an end to assistance for Ukraine.