In a significant development on Wednesday, President Joe Biden called upon Congress to expedite the resolution of discussions concerning Ukraine’s financial assistance.
In his impassioned plea, Biden emphasized that “petty partisan politics can’t get in the way” of supporting Kyiv. This statement underscores the administration’s firm stance on the matter, highlighting the urgency and gravity of the situation in Ukraine.
Biden urges support for Ukraine, warns against Russian aggression
President Biden, in his unscripted address, highlighted the historical significance of this decision, remarking, “History’s going to judge harshly those who turn their back on freedom’s cause”
He further stressed the imperative need to counter Russian aggression, stating, “We can’t let Putin win.” These remarks were part of Biden’s effort to reinvigorate the stalled negotiations over the proposed $106 billion aid package for Ukraine.
This comes at a pivotal moment, as the White House has issued warnings about the impending depletion of funds for Ukraine, which is currently grappling with the ramifications of the conflict.
$60 billion Ukraine aid package faces GOP resistance
The aid package, a substantial financial commitment, proposes approximately $60 billion specifically for bolstering Ukraine’s defenses against Russia.
The remaining funds are earmarked for various other critical international concerns, including Israel’s conflict with Hamas, security measures in Taiwan, and operational needs at the US-Mexico border.
However, the proposal has encountered resistance. Top Republicans, concerned about the cumulative $111 billion already allocated to Ukraine, are insisting that any additional support be contingent upon significant policy changes related to immigration.
Biden addresses border policy, critiques delay in Ukraine aid
Addressing these concerns, Biden expressed his openness to significant alterations regarding border policies. He acknowledged the flaws in the current immigration system, stating it is “broken.”
Yet, he firmly asserted the immediate and critical nature of Ukraine’s needs, urging that they should not be delayed. In a pointed critique, he accused “extreme Republicans” of jeopardizing national security by causing a deadlock over border security issues.
Biden expressed his astonishment at the current situation, saying, “Frankly, I think it’s stunning we got to this point in the first place.” He emphasized the gravity of the situation in Ukraine, declaring, “… Russian forces are committing war crimes – it’s as simple as that. It’s stunning.”
Biden firm on holding Putin accountable, warns of wider conflict risks
The president posed a rhetorical question about accountability, asking, “Who is prepared to walk away from holding Putin accountable for his behaviors?”
He then affirmed his commitment, stating, “I’ll tell you I’m not prepared to walk away, and I don’t think the American people are either.” Biden warned that failing to pass the funding would significantly benefit Putin, giving him “the greatest gift he could ask for.”
Biden also cautioned that Putin’s ambitions might not stop at Ukraine, suggesting potential threats to NATO allies and the possible involvement of US troops in a broader conflict.
Zelensky’s urgent appeal prompts $175M Ukraine aid package
The ongoing negotiations in Congress have been marked by tension and disagreement. A recent classified briefing on Ukraine turned contentious, with senators engaging in heated debates over the border.
In related developments, President Biden held a virtual meeting with G7 leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During this meeting, Zelensky urgently appealed to the US Congress for additional aid.
Following this, the administration announced a new Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) package for Ukraine, valued at $175 million. This package, potentially one of the last without further congressional funding, includes vital military equipment such as artillery rounds and anti-armor missiles.
Senate vote on Ukraine aid package faces GOP hurdles
However, resources are dwindling as Congress deliberates on new financing.
As the Senate prepares for a vote on the aid package, which has strong White House backing, Republican opposition looms, potentially stalling the process.
The decision on this matter will not only shape the immediate future of Ukraine but also set a precedent for international support and diplomatic relations in times of conflict.