U.S. Congress fails to pass $106b Ukraine aid package
The U.S. Congress failed to pass a massive $106 billion aid package for Ukraine and Israel on Wednesday, a setback for President Joe Biden.
The Republican opposition refused to support the bill, which was the subject of intense negotiations. The Republicans demanded significant concessions on U.S. immigration policy in exchange for their votes.
The failure is a disappointment for Biden, who had urged the passage of the funds in a solemn speech earlier in the day. He warned that blocking the funds would be "the greatest gift" to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that Putin would not stop at Ukraine if he succeeded in taking it over.
Biden also raised the possibility of a Russian attack on a NATO member country, which would trigger U.S. entry into the war and, therefore, "American soldiers fighting Russian soldiers." He said that this is a situation that Washington does not want.
The United States is currently the country providing the most significant military support to Kyiv. Congress has appropriated over $110 billion since Russia's invasion in February 2022.
However, Biden's promise to continue to financially support Ukraine is in serious jeopardy, a catastrophic scenario for Kyiv, whose summer counteroffensive did not achieve the hoped-for territorial gains.
Ukrainian officials insist that they need more weapons to prevent Russian strikes from plunging millions of people into darkness this winter, as they did last year.
However, conservative congressmen, although many continue to support Ukraine publicly, are conditioning this aid on a clear tightening of immigration policy in the face of the arrival of migrants at the border with Mexico.
Biden said on Wednesday that he is prepared for "significant compromises" on this point, with the aim of obtaining the support of both chambers of Congress. Negotiations are ongoing.
Until the completion of these negotiations, Washington announced on Wednesday a new military aid package for Kyiv, a limited sum of $175 million from the executive's reserves. The package includes air defence equipment, rockets, and artillery ammunition.
Translation by Iurie Tataru