Ukrainian minister confident US House will vote for support

FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba attends a news conference in Kyiv

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Monday he was confident the U.S. House of Representatives, in turmoil for weeks over the speaker's job, would back a request for additional funds for Ukraine's military.

"The main thing is the outcome - are there enough votes or not?" Kuleba told Ukrainian national television.

"And at the moment we have every reason to believe that there are votes in the U.S. House of Representatives for the bill providing Ukraine with additional support."

Kuleba said he was aware of "considerable political resistance" to the bill's provisions and that it would be a "sin" for U.S. lawmakers not to use the legislation to further their own interests.

The U.S. House of Representatives last week elected Republican Mike Johnson, a conservative with little leadership experience, as speaker, ending a turbulent three weeks that left the rudderless chamber unable to carry out any of its basic duties.

Johnson said last week that funding to support Ukraine and Israel should be handled separately, suggesting he would not back President Joe Biden's $106 billion aid package for both countries.

Johnson told Fox News he had concerns about Ukraine funding in general, and believed any money for Israel would need to be funded by cuts elsewhere.

Biden wants Congress to provide $106 billion in supplemental funding, with the bulk of the money going to bolster Ukraine's defences and the remainder split among Israel, the Indo-Pacific and border enforcement.

Johnson said he wanted to know "the end game" for Ukraine and that the White House had not provided that.

Kuleba said he anticipated declarations from U.S. politicians "that will cause irritation and induce panic," but said that what mattered in the end was "the scoreboard."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video message on Monday that he had discussed continued U.S. support at a meeting in Kyiv with a delegation of U.S. members of Congress.

He said Ukraine had to prove that "freedom could overcome hatred and aggression ... and for that we need unity - unity of all of Europe, unity in America, unity of the entire free world."

(Reporting by Ron Popeski in Winnipeg and Oleskandr Kozhukhar in Kyiv; Editing by Matthew Lewis)