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International support for Ukraine is crumbling

Ukrainian troops training in German-made tanks. Paul Hanna/Bloomberg/Getty

Last weekend marked an “ominous turning point in international support for Ukraine”, says Piotr Kosicki in The Atlantic. On Saturday, the then US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy narrowly prevented the whole American government from shutting down by brokering a last-minute budget deal – but the agreement was conditional on scrapping a proposed $6bn aid package for Kyiv. That same day, halfway around the world, Slovakians handed a major electoral victory to the corrupt, pro-Kremlin conspiracy theorist Robert Fico, who campaigned on the slogan: “Not a single round” – in other words, no more Slovak ammo in Ukrainian guns. This small nation was one of the first in Nato to provide armed assistance to Kyiv, and has been a “bulwark of logistical support”. Its new leader is now primed to divest from the war and push his country into “Putin’s waiting embrace”.

In Poland, meanwhile, the right-wing government has been Ukraine’s “most important, strategically placed backer” in the EU since the war began. But recent months have been marked by “populist electioneering” in which the ruling party has made fear of migration a major theme. The prime targets are Middle Eastern refugees. But with more than a million Ukrainians seeking refuge in Poland, sympathy with Kyiv is “dying a slow death”. Polish xenophobia and the historic memory of Ukrainians massacring Poles in World War Two have only hastened a general “ebbing of grassroots solidarity”. At a time when Kyiv still desperately needs the world’s help, its “days of international solidarity are numbered”.