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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Biden signs foreign aid bill

The $95-billion package includes $61 billion for Ukraine, with funds destined for purchase of weapons and military equipment

US President Joe Biden signed a long-stalled $95-billion foreign aid package on Wednesday, after the Senate voted resoundingly to approve the funds for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

The package, including $61 billion for Ukraine, passed in a 79-18 vote on Tuesday evening, after both Republican and Democratic lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to end a filibuster and advance the measure.


READ MORE: More weapons for Kiev won’t change battlefield dynamics – Kremlin

Biden praised congressional leaders and lawmakers for what he called an effort “to answer history’s call at this critical inflection point,” saying he would immediately begin the process of sending much-needed weaponry to Ukraine as early as this week.

”Congress has passed my legislation to strengthen our national security and send a message to the world about the power of American leadership: we stand resolutely for democracy and freedom, and against tyranny and oppression,” Biden stated.

The president told his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky in a phone call on Monday that weapons shipments would begin rapidly after the bill reaches the Oval Office for his signature. While the White House offered few details on the call, the Ukrainian leader claimed that Kiev would be receiving longer-range ATACMS missiles.

The multibillion-dollar US aid package was requested by the White House months ago, but was only passed by the House of Representatives on Saturday, after Speaker Mike Johnson finally agreed to a vote.

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The House also voted on Saturday to approve separate bills providing $26 billion in aid to Israel and $8 billion for Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific region allies. In addition, the emergency spending package includes $9 billion in humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza and other war zones.

Biden said the US would start sending weapons and military equipment to Ukraine “in the next few hours.”

“We are going to begin sending equipment to Ukraine for air defense munitions, for artillery, for rocket systems and armored vehicles,” he stated, noting that the package’s path to his desk was a difficult one, and “should have gotten there sooner.”

The Pentagon has said weapons worth $1 billion are ready for immediate delivery to Ukraine. According to unnamed US officials, cited by the Associated Press, some of the arms will arrive on the frontline within days, but other items could take longer.

The Kremlin has repeatedly warned that Washington’s lethal aid will not change the situation on the battlefield in Ukraine’s favor. According to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, the US government has effectively been funneling billions of dollars into its own military industrial complex through the aid scheme.

April 24, 2024 at 08:52PM
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