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17 Feb, 2024 23:33

Biden blames Republicans for fall of Avdeevka

The US president claims lawmakers caused the loss of the Ukrainian stronghold to Russia by failing to approve more aid to Kiev
Biden blames Republicans for fall of Avdeevka

US President Joe Biden has blamed this week’s loss of a former Ukrainian stronghold in Russia's Donetsk People's Republic on Republican lawmakers who refused to approve his request for $60 billion in additional aid to Kiev.

“This morning, Ukraine’s military was forced to withdraw from Avdeevka after Ukrainian soldiers had to ration ammunition due to dwindling supplies as a result of congressional inaction, resulting in Russia’s first notable gains in months,” Biden said on Saturday in a statement.

The statement recounted a call that Biden placed to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky “to underscore the United States’ commitment to continue supporting Ukraine ahead of the two year anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion.”

However, Biden admitted to reporters on Friday that there is no way for his administration to provide additional ammunition to Ukraine without congressional approval for his latest aid request. He also blasted US House representatives for going on vacation without passing a bipartisan Senate bill that includes a combined $95 billion in funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

“I won’t say panic, but there is a real concern about the United States being a reliable ally,” the president said. “It’s about time they step up, don’t you think? Sitting on a two-week vacation? What are they thinking? My God, it’s bizarre.”

The White House issued Biden’s latest statement after Zelensky conceded in a speech at the Munich Security Conference that Ukrainian forces had retreated from Avdeevka under relentless Russian attacks to avoid heavy casualties. He took an apparent jab at US lawmakers, saying, “Please, everyone remember that dictators do not go on vacation.”

Avdeevka has been a flashpoint since 2014, when conflict between local militias and Kiev’s forces erupted in the Donbass region following a Western-backed overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government. Kiev’s troops have for years used the city to shell residential areas in Donetsk, about 20 kilometers to the south.

Congressional Republicans have insisted that the aid bill for Ukraine include measures to address America’s illegal immigration crisis. “House Republicans were crystal clear from the very beginning of discussions that any so-called national security supplemental legislation must recognize that national security begins at our own border,” House Speaker Mike Johnson said.

The Biden administration confirmed in January that it had run out of funding for Ukraine after burning through $113 billion in previously approved aid packages. Some Republican lawmakers have argued that Biden is merely prolonging the bloodshed in Ukraine and wasting US taxpayer dollars without offering a strategy for ending the conflict.