US Senate approves new $12 bln in aid for Ukraine
The United States approves more billions in aid to Ukraine in a bid to keep the Kiev government afloat as Washington bears the brunt of financial issues at home.
The US Senate approved Thursday an additional $12 billion in fresh economic and military aid for Ukraine as part of Washington's stopgap extension of the US federal budget into December.
The bill, met with bipartisan support, includes $3 billion for arms, supplies, and salaries for the Ukrainian military while authorizing US President Joe Biden to direct the Department of Defense to provide Ukraine with $3.7 billion of its own weapons and materiel using his Presidential Drawdown Authority.
The act further provides $4.5 billion for Kiev to stabilize the country's finances and keep Kiev's government afloat.
"Seven months since the conflict began, it's crystal clear that American assistance has gone a long way to helping the Ukrainian people resist Putin's evil, vicious aggression," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
"But the fight is far from over, and we must, we must continue helping the brave, valiant Ukrainian people."
Since the start of the war, the US has given Ukraine $16.9 billion for "security assistance", which includes a package worth $600 million in early September. Additionally, the White House asked Congress for $13.7 billion for "security and economic assistance" for Ukraine, which the body must pass by the end of the month to keep the Ukrainian government standing.
The United States approved Thursday an extra $1.1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, providing 18 new High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
HIMARS is capable of launching Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) missiles with a range of up to 50 miles as well as a single Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile with a range of 186 miles. The US has been continuously supplying Ukraine with GMLRSs, while Kiev continues to make demands for ATACMS delivery.
The US is also sending hundreds of armored and tactical vehicles, radar systems, anti-UAV systems, and surveillance and communications systems, the Pentagon said in a statement on Wednesday.
Aid to Kiev is part of a short-term extension of the federal budget that expires at the end of the fiscal year - a day from now - without Congress agreeing to a full-year allocation for fiscal 2022-23.
The resolution will keep the government afloat until December, but the House of Representatives must first approve it to avoid shutting down parts of the government on Monday.
However, the opposition to aid to Ukraine is growing in Congress; not because the continuous flow of arms would only prolong the war, but because Republican members of Congress cannot justify spending so much money overseas when their country is grappling with various economic and financial crises, most notably soaring inflation.
With the November elections looming on the horizon, the Republican Party is growing more opposed to spending money on Ukraine, and cutting aid to Kiev is only projected to become more of a GOP priority if the red party wins the majority in the House of Representatives in January.