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President Joe Biden says US to begin sending military equipment to Ukraine

US President Joe Biden has signed a $95bn (£76bn) package of aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. It’s going to make America safer, it’s going to make the world safer,” he said after signing the bill into law. The president said the US would “right away” send fresh weapons and equipment to Ukraine to help Kyiv fend off Russian advances.

He spoke a day after the US Senate approved the aid package following months of congressional gridlock.

Ukraine has recently stepped up its calls for Western assistance as Russia makes steady gains in its invasion. Included in the package is $61bn in military aid for Ukraine. It passed the Senate in a bipartisan vote of 79-18. Tuesday evening’s approval came after the measure passed the US House of Representatives on Saturday.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “After more than six months of hard work and many twists and turns in the road, America sends a message to the entire world: we will not turn our back on you.”

Reacting to the vote, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said it “reinforces America’s role as a beacon of democracy and leader of the free world”.

The Senate passed a similar aid package in February, but a group of conservatives who oppose new Ukraine support had prevented it from coming to a vote in the House of RepresentativesLast week, Democrats and Republicans in the lower chamber joined together to bypass this opposition.

They ultimately agreed to a package bill that included the foreign aid as well as legislation to confiscate Russian assets held by Western banks; new sanctions on Russia, Iran and China; and a provision that will force the Chinese company ByteDance to sell the popular social media service TikTok.Fifteen voted with two Democrats – as well as independent Senator Bernie Sanders who objected to providing new offensive weapons to Israel – against the bill.

“Pouring more money into Ukraine’s coffers will only prolong the conflict and lead to more loss of life,” Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville said in remarks on Tuesday.

“No-one at the White House, the Pentagon, or the state department can articulate what victory looks like in this fight.”

The aid package is expected to provide a significant boost to Ukraine’s forces, which have suffered from a shortage of ammunition and air defence systems in recent months.

On Tuesday, Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, faced the latest in a series of recent drone and missile strikes, with authorities saying two people in a residential neighbourhood were injured.
The commander of Ukraine’s National Guard, Oleksandr Pivnenko, said he was expecting an attempt by Russian forces to advance on the city, which is near the Russian border.

Between February 2022 and January 2024, the US gave Ukraine more than $40bn in military aid, according to German research organisation, the Kiel Institute.

Aid for Israel and Taiwan
The foreign aid package passed on Tuesday also allocates $17bn to Israel, as well as $9bn for civilians suffering in conflict zones around the world, including Palestinians in Gaza.

A further $8bn has been earmarked for allies in the Asia-Pacific, including Taiwan, to “counter communist China”. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz reacted to the vote by thanking congressional leaders for their “unwavering commitment to Israel’s security

Source: eNCA

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