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13 Feb, 2024 11:38

US Senate approves aid for Ukraine

The multibillion international security package is expected to be blocked by GOP-controlled House
US Senate approves aid for Ukraine

The Democratic-led US Senate on Tuesday passed a $95.34 billion international security assistance package that includes roughly $60 billion in aid for Ukraine. A group of Republican lawmakers sided with their political opponents to surpass the 60-vote threshold to approve the bill.

While the bill was approved 70-29 in a pre-dawn vote in the upper chamber, strong opposition remains in the lower forum, the House, against continued spending on Ukraine. Speaker Mike Johnson has linked any appropriation of funds for Kiev to radical reforms at home of both the US immigration system and of security at its southern border.

Johnson reiterated his opposition to the bill, after senators cleared a procedural hurdle earlier this week to put it to vote. Instead of pushing it through they “should have gone back to the drawing board to amend the current bill to include real border security provisions,” he said in a statement. The lower chamber “will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters,” he added.

“It’s been years, perhaps decades, since the Senate has passed a bill that so greatly impacts not just our national security, not just the security of our allies, but also the security of western democracy,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said of the development in his chamber.

US President Joe Biden has been urging Congress for months to speed up the approval of Ukraine aid, as his administration ran out of money previously approved by the lawmakers. He claimed that by failing to provide more money to the government in Kiev, the US risked a direct confrontation with Russia down the line.

After defeating Ukraine, the US leader said, Moscow will attack a NATO member state and Washington would have to send troops to the rescue as it is obliged-to under the bloc’s charter.

The government in Moscow has repeatedly denied any intention to attack NATO. President Vladimir Putin reiterated these assurances last week in an interview with US journalist Tucker Carlson, when asked if Poland or Lithuania had to be concerned for their safety. Russia has no interest in fighting NATO and will only engage in hostilities if attacked first, Putin explained.