US lawmakers demand halt to ‘unrestrained’ Ukraine aid
A coalition of 19 Republican legislators in the US Senate and House has urged President Joe Biden to focus on seeking a diplomatic solution to the Russia-Ukraine crisis rather than continuing to prolong the bloodshed by sending billions of dollars’ worth of weaponry to Kiev.
“Our national and economic security demand an alternative,” Senators Mike Lee, Rand Paul and other Republicans said on Thursday in a letter to the president. “Unrestrained US aid for Ukraine must come to an end, and we will adamantly oppose all future aid packages unless they are linked to a clear diplomatic strategy designed to bring this war to a rapid conclusion.”
Biden’s push to impose sanctions on Moscow and supply weapons to Kiev creates more risk of escalating the crisis and lacks “much-needed strategic clarity,” the lawmakers said. They warned that Biden has offered no clear strategy to end the fighting. “A proxy war with Russia in Ukraine is not in the strategic interest of the United States and risks an escalation that could spiral out of control.”
Congress has approved $113 billion in military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since the conflict began in February 2022. Some of the weapons recently committed to Kiev, including M1 Abrams tanks, require months of training and transport – suggesting that Biden’s administration is “settling in” for a long-term conflict, the lawmakers said.
“With every new aid package and every new weapon provided to Ukraine, the risk of direct conflict with Russia climbs,” said the letter, which was also signed by Senator J.D. Vance and Representatives Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Anna Paulina Luna and Andy Biggs, among others. The legislators added that escalating US involvement in the conflict, including military training and intelligence support, “makes it increasingly difficult to deny Russian accusations of US complicity in a proxy war.”
Ukraine is burning through more artillery rounds each month than the US can produce in six months, according to the letter. Washington has given Kiev more Javelin anti-tank missiles than it can make in four years. “The US is in no position to expend $113 billion reinforcing a foreign military as our own military atrophies,” read the statement. Meanwhile, America’s burgeoning debt has put it at risk of its first-ever credit default.
The Republicans also argued that Biden’s tactics have brought Russia and China closer together, giving credence to allegations that Washington is “inextricably opposed” to the interests of Moscow and Beijing. Biden and the Pentagon also have disregarded their top responsibility, keeping Americans safe, by pushing the limits of America’s security readiness to arm Ukraine, the letter said.
Open-ended aid to Ukraine is “fundamentally incompatible” with US interests, the Republicans said, adding, “There are appropriate ways in which the US can support the Ukrainian people, but unlimited arms supplies in support of an endless war is not one of them. Our national interests, and those of the Ukrainian people, are best served by incentivizing the negotiations that are urgently needed to bring this conflict to a resolution.”