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19 Jan, 2024 19:08

Biden racing to get money to Ukraine before possible Trump victory – CNN

A $60-billion aid package for Kiev is being held up by Republicans in Washington’s legislature
Biden racing to get money to Ukraine before possible Trump victory – CNN

The Biden administration is keen to quickly approve its latest Ukraine aid package amid fears in Washington and Kiev that a Donald Trump victory in November’s presidential election could slash US financial support for Ukraine’s war effort, CNN reported on Friday.

Biden has urged lawmakers in Congress to overcome its deadlock and rubber-stamp his $60-billion aid request, telling officials on Wednesday at a White House meeting that failure to do so would severely test Kiev’s military capabilities, the report added.

The outlet also cited an unnamed White House official as saying that Biden warned that the lives of US military personnel were potentially on the line should the Russia-Ukraine conflict spill over into NATO territory.

“The vast majority of members of Congress support aid [to Ukraine],” Biden told reporters at the White House on Thursday. “The question is whether or not a small minority are going to hold it up, which would be a disaster.”

CNN also noted concern in Washington and Kiev – as well as in NATO headquarters in Brussels – that a Donald Trump victory in November’s presidential election would almost certainly result in Ukraine aid being slashed, a policy issue that has become mainstream Republican rhetoric in recent months.

“The number one reason Republicans will not come out in favor of a supplemental for Ukraine is they don’t want to offend candidate Trump and his supporters,” Rep. Mike Quigley of Chicago, a Democrat, told CNN on Wednesday. “He’s already made it clear what he would do – the war would be over on his first day, which means Putin gets to keep the borders he has, if not more.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson has elucidated Republican concerns over Washington’s torrent of financial support for Kiev, telling CNN on Wednesday that “we cannot spend billions of dollars without a clear strategy” for an end to the conflict.

The CNN report also notes assessments from US and Western intelligence officials which have predicted at least two more years of fighting in Ukraine and perhaps as many as five.

“Getting as much aid in before January 2025 is on the minds of a lot of folks I’ve spoken to,” a US official said, according to CNN. “Not only is it important that the monies get appropriated, but that they get dispersed before the election as any [fiscal year 2024] funds still waiting to be spent can get blocked by Trump.”

Another source told CNN that “basically everything depends on Biden getting reelected.”