US Senate Passes Whopping $40 Billion in Aid for Ukraine
Story Code : 995294
The legislative body gave its blessing to the monumental package on Thursday, with 86 votes in favor and 11 against, the Bloomberg news agency reported.
“The message this sends is that the United States is committed, that we are going to stand with any country that is a democracy when there is an autocracy that attempts to overrun it,” Idaho Republican Jim Risch alleged.
This comes after objections by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul had delayed passage of the bill for an entire week.
“If Congress really believed giving Ukraine $40 bn was in our national interest, they could easily pay for it by taxing every income taxpayer $500,” Paul tweeted on Thursday.
The bill cleared the House of Representatives last week on a 368 to 57 vote.
The package, which is significantly larger than the $33 billion that Joe Biden had requested for Ukraine last month, now only awaits the president’s signature.
Separately, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had authorized $100 million in additional US arms, equipment, and supplies for Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the “special military operation” on February 24 in order to “demilitarize” the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine. In 2014, the two regions declared themselves new republics, refusing to recognize Ukraine’s Western-backed government.
Ordering the operation, Putin said the mission was aimed at “defending people who for eight years were suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime.”
Another goal sought by the operation was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine, the Russian head of state also said back then, apparently referring to the far-right Azov militant outfit and the influence it wields across Ukraine’s political and military spheres.
Also on Thursday, the Group of Seven so-called “advanced economies” that gather Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the United States, agreed to provide Ukraine with $18.4 billion.
The group said the money was to be used towards Ukraine’s “paying its bills,” Reuters reported.
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the funds “would speed up Kiev’s victory over Russia” and were just “as important as “the weapons you provide,” the agency added.
The Western side has, on the other hand, been showering Russia with sanctions since the launch of the operation.
Moscow has unequivocally warned that the unfaltering Western support for the Ukrainian side would indefinitely prolong the war.
It has also vowed to end the operation once its “security demands” were met. The list of demands include provision of security for Russia’s interests in Ukraine and prevention of the ex-Soviet republic’s admission into the Western military alliance of NATO.