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15 Feb, 2024 10:02

NATO counting on Washington to arm Ukraine – Stoltenberg  

US House Speaker Mike Johnson previously said his hand will not be forced on the issue
NATO counting on Washington to arm Ukraine – Stoltenberg  

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says he expects the US Congress to appropriate additional funding for Ukraine to fight Russia, as Kiev is already suffering from insufficient military aid. 

Speaking on Thursday ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, the senior official thanked the US Senate for approving an international security assistance package, which includes some $60 billion in Ukraine aid.  

However, the bill faces strong Republican opposition in the House of Representatives, where it is expected to be blocked. During Stoltenberg’s visit to the US in late January, however, he said he sensed that there was broad agreement on the “sustained support” of Kiev. 

“I count on the US Congress to be able to reflect that support,” he said, adding “We see the impact already of the fact that the US has not been able to make a decision.”  

The Senate passed the assistance package on Tuesday, after some Republicans sided with Democrats during the vote. President Joe Biden urged House Speaker Mike Johnson to put the bill on the floor as soon as possible, claiming that it has enough votes to be approved.  

The speaker reiterated his opposition to the proposal on Wednesday, citing the unresolved issue of southern border security. There were previously attempts in the Congress to tie it to foreign aid, but they failed. 

”The Republican-led House will not be jammed or forced into passing a foreign aid bill that was opposed by most Republican senators and does nothing to secure our own border,” Johnson told the press. GOP lawmakers demand that “before we take care of issues all around the world, we take care of our own first.”  

Johnson accused Biden of inconsistency over his claims that the opposition were playing into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin by rejecting the aid request. Earlier this month, the White House undermined the US export of liquefied natural gas by halting approvals for the construction of terminals. Because of that decision, US partners in Europe “will now have to source fuel from Moscow” and “line Putin’s pockets,” Johnson claimed.