War in Ukraine


Ukraine aid bill blocked in US Senate

STORY: The U.S. Senate blocked an emergency spending bill on Wednesday which would have provided billions of dollars in new security assistance for Ukraine and Israel. That’s as Republicans insisted on tougher measures and more money to control immigration.Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a floor speech on Wednesday that Senate should “start meeting America's national security priorities, including right here at home”… referring to the illegal immigration at the U.S. border with Mexico. The bill, which includes $20 billion for border security, provides about $50 billion in new security assistance for Ukraine as well as money for humanitarian and economic aid for the government in Kyiv, plus $14 billion for Israel. The final tally of votes was 49 in favor to 51 against, short of the 60 votes needed to start debate. Every Senate Republican voted no, along with Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who expressed concerns about funding Israel's "current inhumane military strategy". Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, also voted "no" so that he could introduce the measure again in the future. The stalemate in negotiations about Ukraine and Israel funding has been going on for weeks. On Wednesday, Biden warned that a victory for Russia in Ukraine would put Moscow in a position to attack NATO allies – and draw U.S. troops into war. “If Putin takes Ukraine, he won't stop there. It's important to see the long run here. He's going to keep going. History is going to judge harshly those who turned their back on freedom's cause. We can't let Putin win.” On the streets of Kyiv on Wednesday, residents said they were worried and already felt the pain from delays in Western military aid. “We already feel it. A friend of mine recently died fighting. We need to get the help as soon as possible, every day of delay means loss of human lives. Yes, thanks to our partners, our defence is holding up, but regarding this issue, the congressmen need to speed up their actions because we all understand that we have less manpower than Russia.” Congress has approved more than $110 billion for Ukraine since Russia's February 2022 invasion but it has not approved any funds since Republicans took over the House from Democrats in January. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's chief of staff said on Tuesday postponing U.S. assistance for Kyiv would create a "big risk" of Ukraine losing the war with Russia. Ukraine conducted a major counteroffensive push this year, but was unable to break through Russian defensive lines. Russia is now on the offensive in the east.
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