After months of political deadlock in Washington on US aid for Ukraine - something's changed

Something curious is happening in Washington.

After months of blockages and bickering over weapons for Ukraine - a gridlock which has given Russia the upper hand - suddenly, it looks like a vote will happen by Saturday.

It's a story of relief for Ukraine which will receive more than $60bn (£48bn) of lethal aid.

But it also represents a curious twist in America's political chaos.

For more than 480 days, Republicans in the House of Representatives have blocked the passage of a bill to send more weapons to Ukraine.

Republican speaker Mike Johnson has refused repeatedly to put a Senate-passed bill to a vote.

Conservatives on the right of the Republican Party have variously said Ukraine shouldn't get American aid and that America should be focusing on its own southern border, not a distant European one.

The speaker, beholden to them for fear of losing his job, but also somewhat aligned to them, had prevented a vote.

On the battlefield in eastern Ukraine this DC gridlock has been consequential.

The Ukrainians have been running low on all weapons types, even small arms - bullets for their soldiers' rifles.

Analysts say Russia's recent airstrike successes are the consequence of a lack of Ukrainian air defence interceptors. And on the frontline, the artillery and shell imbalance has been growing by the day. Russia has the upper hand.

Trumpian republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz have led a vocal minority charge against Ukraine funding insisting focus should be on the Mexican border and rejecting the idea of both being possible.

So what's changed? Why is Speaker Johnson suddenly not worried about them? Well that's just it. It's not entirely clear.

Johnson went to Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort for dinner last week. What was said? We don't know. But Trump said what a great job he thought Johnson was doing. Something shifted.

Maybe David Cameron will take the credit. He was at Mar-a-Lago days before telling Trump how important Ukraine was.

But somewhere, the intransigent Mr Johnson has had an epiphany.

On Capitol Hill last night his language was striking.

"This is not a game. It's not a joke. We can't play politics," he said, with no sense of irony given his politicking over the last few months.

He went on: "We have to do the right thing. And I'm willing to take personal risk for that because we have to do the right thing and history will judge."

He will have to rely on Democratic Party votes to get the bill passed.

This infuriates the hard right on his side. But they will also have to rely on Democratic votes if they want to kick him out. They say they might, again ignoring the irony.

It all represents a fascinating twist in the messiest of politics and it's got a way to go. Will Johnson hold onto his job? What does Trump actually think? The murmurings in the US media are that Rupert Murdoch is a fan of Johnson. That clearly counts for a lot.

Beyond what it says about America's domestic political chaos, geopolitically it is indicative too of the enduring power America holds, even as its influence and engagement wanes.

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If the US is absent, there is a vacuum. And in Ukraine's case, it's been a vacuum filled by Russia.

It also hints at how geopolitics is all intertwined. The Russian drones smashing into Ukrainian cities are made in Iran. They are the same type of drones which almost slammed into Israel at the weekend.

It's no coincidence that there's movement on the bill now.

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