Biden and Germany's Scholz will meet in Washington as US and EU aid for Ukraine hangs in the balance

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrives for the cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will host German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House on Feb. 9 as the West struggles to provide new aid for Ukraine in the war against Russia.

“The two leaders will reaffirm their resolute support for Ukraine’s defense of its land and its people against Russia’s war of aggression,” the White House said in a statement Saturday.

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The United States is out of money for Ukraine, unable to send the ammunition and missiles that the government in Kyiv needs to fend off Russia. The Biden administration already has sent Ukraine $111 billion in weapons, equipment, humanitarian assistance and other aid since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion in February 2022.

Biden's package of $110 billion in new aid for Ukraine, Israel and other national security needs has stalled because of disagreements between Congress and the White House over other policy priorities, including additional security for the U.S.-Mexico border. That total includes about $61 billion in assistance for Ukraine.

The European Union last month paid the final installment of a multibillion-euro support package to Ukraine to help keep its economy afloat. The EU's executive branch, the European Commission, has proposed to provide Ukraine with 50 billion euros ($55 billion), and at a summit before that last payout, 26 of the 27 nation bloc’s leaders endorsed the plan. But Hungary imposed a veto.

EU leaders are expected to meet again on Feb. 1 to attempt a deal on the financial package, but the veto power by Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orbán, who is considered to be Putin’s closest ally in the EU, remains a factor.

The Israel-Hamas war will also be a focus of the White House meeting between Biden and Scholz.

The leaders will discuss “efforts to prevent regional escalation in the Middle East, their steadfast support for Israel’s right to self-defense, and the imperative of increasing life-saving assistance and protection of civilians from harm in Gaza,” according to the statement from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

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