Pressure is intensifying on the US Congress to pass additional aid to Ukraine, with senior military leaders in Canada and the U.S. issuing stark warnings this week that Russia will overwhelm the Ukrainians unless ammunition starts flowing to Kyiv soon.

Iran Press/ Europe: The mounting pressure comes as Ukraine has passed a controversial law to expand military conscription in the country, hours after Russia launched another round of missile strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities overnight Thursday.

“The strikes in Ukraine over the past 24 hours are another terrible reminder that Ukraine’s need is critical,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday as she urged the U.S. House of Representatives to hold a vote on whether to approve billions of dollars in new aid.

Yet Canada’s political leaders are continuing to express confidence that U.S. support for Ukraine will ultimately prevail, with Defence Minister Bill Blair most recently calling the legislative logjam in Washington “a bump in the road.”

Asked about that comment moments after he offered it at the Senate national defence committee on Monday, Blair said, “I have been accused of being overly optimistic.”

“But I’ve worked with the Americans for a very long time, and I judge the character of the people I deal with to be strong and resolved, and they are absolutely committed to supporting Ukraine,” he said.

He added he doesn’t know anyone “more committed to the defence of Ukraine” than his U.S. counterpart, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

But Austin isn’t the one holding up the national security supplemental funding bill that would provide roughly US$60 billion in new military and financial aid to Ukraine. Only House Speaker Mike Johnson can bring the legislation to the floor of the House of Representatives, yet he has not done so in the weeks since the Senate passed the bill in February amid division among his Republican members.

A spokesperson for Blair’s office confirmed Thursday that the minister has not had any conversations with Johnson or other congressional leaders in the U.S. about Ukraine. The spokesperson added Blair had no plans to hold such conversations “at this time.”


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