Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Washington visit on 12th December 2023 was a desperate bid for $60 billion in critical aid. But his pleas fell on deaf ears amidst a partisan political standoff. With a funding deadline looming in December and Russia’s invasion still raging, Zelensky faced a wall of Republican lawmakers demanding border security concessions in exchange for Ukraine’s lifeline.

President Biden standing alongside Zelensky in the Oval Office issued a stark warning, “failure to pass the aid package would be a Christmas gift to Vladimir Putin”. Yet, the urgency seemed lost on Capitol Hill, where Republicans remained resolute in their conditions. Polls indicated waning public support for Ukraine, adding to the pressure on lawmakers facing a seemingly impossible choice.

Back in snow-covered Kyiv, Ukrainians watched Zelensky’s trip with bated breath. For them, the outcome wasn’t just a political calculation, it was a matter of life and death. Olga, a Kyiv resident summed it up poignantly, “Since every average person understands that his life depends on it, everything depends on it… we believe that everything will be fine, that they will help us.”

The fate of Ukraine, it seemed hung precariously in the balance. Its future tethered to the whims of American politics and the dwindling goodwill of a weary public. As the December deadline approached, one question echoed through the halls of power and the streets of Kyiv: would America answer the call, or would it turn its back on a desperate nation fighting for its very survival?