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4 Dec, 2023 07:59

Money for Ukraine ‘desperately’ needed – White House

The Biden administration urged Congress to act “immediately” to resolve the military aid deadlock
Money for Ukraine ‘desperately’ needed – White House

The Biden administration is “desperately” trying to release funds to help Ukraine’s military in the conflict with Russia, the White House National Security Council coordinator has said.

During an appearance on ABC News on Sunday, John Kirby was asked whether US President Joe Biden would give in to demands by Republicans, who are insisting that a $106 billion ‘national security supplemental request’ for Ukraine and Israel be conditional on a security spending boost for the US-Mexico border.

Kirby declined to answer the question, saying he “won't get ahead of the president's decision-making.” Instead, he again stressed the importance of the stalled aid package.

“I’ll tell you in that supplemental request that we put forward... yep, there's money for Ukraine which we desperately need. There's money for Israel. There’s also money for border security,” he explained.

According to Kirby, an immigration reform plan was put forward “on day one of this administration.” However, the Republican-led Congress “basically ignored it.” 

If lawmakers “are serious about immigration reform, they ought to take that proposal up by the president. They also ought to pass our supplemental request, all four of the major buckets in there, which also includes money for the Indo-Pacific, is important to our national security,” he said.

Kirby urged Congress to act “immediately” to resolve the military aid deadlock.

The administration has been struggling to push through the $106 billion aid package since early October, largely due to opposition from Republican hardliners, who are resisting further funding for Kiev.

The Biden administration has provided Ukraine with more than $76 billion in military and other assistance since the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev in February 2022. However, the flow of money has recently dried up. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who visited Kiev last month, could only announce a new arms and ammunition package worth $100 million.

Last week, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said Kiev’s forces would switch to building fortifications, acknowledging that the counteroffensive, which began in early June and heavily relied on Western-supplied hardware, has failed to deliver the desired results. According to Russian estimates, Ukraine has lost over 125,000 troops and 16,000 pieces of heavy equipment in unsuccessful attempts to advance over the past six months.

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