Schumer: Biden administration to push Congress for $6.4 billion in aid to Ukraine

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to reporters at the US Capitol in Washington, on February 17, 2022. (Reuters )

Democratic US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Biden administration will ask Congress for more than $6 billion dollars in economic and military aid to help Ukraine fight against Russia.

Schumer said on Sunday the request would be added to a spending bill expected to reach the Senate floor next week, Reuters reported.

The White House on Friday requested $6.4 billion in new funding from Congress in response to Russia’s military action in Ukraine. That would include $3.5 billion for the Pentagon and another $2.9 billion to support Eastern European allies with military and humanitarian aid.

The proposal followed a meeting between Biden administration budget officials and congressional leaders as well as lawmakers on key committees.

Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat from Vermont and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he would work with the Biden administration and lawmakers to provide “the necessary resources” to address the Ukrainian conflict. 

“The United States government needs to provide the necessary resources to support our allies and assist the innocent people caught in the middle of this needless calamity,” Leahy said in a statement.

The proposed spending package will be negotiated in Congress and could change before it is finalized.

Meanwhile, the United States is providing Ukraine with $350 million in additional military assistance as fighting rages on between Ukrainian forces and Russian troops.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Saturday that the State Department is releasing "lethal defensive assistance" from US stocks to Ukraine, saying the package is aimed at helping "Ukraine address the armored, airborne, and other threats it is now facing."

"It is another clear signal that the United States stands with the people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereign, courageous, and proud nation."

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday a “special military operation” in Ukraine’s Donbas region to “defend people” subjected to "genocide" there against government forces, stressing that Moscow has “no plans to occupy Ukrainian territory.”

US President Joe Biden called the Russian action an "unprovoked and unjustified attack," and the American media described it as the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two assault by Russia.

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