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US approves $40 billion for Ukraine, seeking long war with Russia  

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 President Joe Biden

US lawmakers on Tuesday approved the $40 billion aid package for Ukraine as Washington looks to prolong the conflict with Russia.

Both Republican and Democratic Parties had already reached an agreement on the details of the massive package, which passed the House of Representatives by 368 votes to 57. All the dissenting votes came from the Republican ranks.

The package will likely pass the Senate by the end of the week or next week.

"With this aid package, America sends a resounding message to the world of our unwavering determination to stand with the courageous people of Ukraine until victory is won," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues ahead of the vote.

Two weeks ago, US President Joe Biden asked Congress for a whopping $33 billion aid package for Ukraine, including more than $20 billion in new military aid and other security assistance over the next five months to use in the regime's war with Russia.

The supplemental funding request includes $16.4 billion for the Defense Department, $8.5 billion in economic assistance, and $3 billion for humanitarian assistance and to fight food insecurity, according to reports.

The new package includes $6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and $5.4 billion to replenish military inventories of weapons and equipment sent to the front lines.

On Monday, however, Congressional leaders agreed to release $6.8 billion more than the $33 billion requested by the White House.

A top US official has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of preparing for a long war that may not end with Russian victory in the east.

"We assess President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas," Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

She added that Putin was counting on US and EU resolve to weaken as the conflict continues to cause food shortages and inflation, including spiraling energy prices.

Biden said the supplemental budget request will allow weapons and ammunition to flow "without interruption to the brave Ukrainian fighters" and the US to continue delivering economic and humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian people.

The White House said that more than $20 billion of the $33 billion would be for military and other security systems.

Biden has also demanded an additional $8.5 billion in economic assistance to help provide basic services to the Ukrainian people and $3 billion in humanitarian assistance and food security funding.

If the package passes as planned, US spending in Ukraine and addressing the ensuing humanitarian crisis will soar to around $54 billion.

The US has already delivered $2.4 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Biden’s term in office, though much of that aid has come since Russia’s military operation against Ukraine began in late February.

This is while a report has revealed that the US government is struggling to track large quantities of “lethal aid” shipped to Ukraine in recent months amid raging conflict in the country.


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