The administration of US President Joe Biden has asked Congress to approve $11.7 billion in military and economic assistance for Ukraine as part of a short-term funding bill, in a move that prioritizes assistance for Kiev over the fight against the coronavirus in the world's worst-hit country.
The Biden administration on Friday requested that Congress authorize $11.7 billion in additional security and economic aid for Ukraine and $2 billion to help prop up domestic energy supplies to counterbalance the impacts of the war on the global energy market.
“We have rallied the world to support the people of Ukraine to defend their democracy and we simply cannot allow that support to Ukraine to run dry,” a US administration official told reporters when previewing the request on Friday.
Ukraine has been at war with Russia since President Vladimir Putin declared a military operation in the neighboring country in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
At the time, Putin said one of the goals of what he called a “special military operation” was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
Ever since, Washington has sent heavy weaponry to Ukraine and shared intelligence with the embattled government in Kiev, despite warnings from Moscow that the unfaltering Western support would indefinitely prolong the war.
The White House said that the funds are required to keep up the pace of aid to Ukraine for the first three months of fiscal 2023, which begins at the start of October. The Biden administration official said approximately three-fourths of the funds Congress has already approved for Ukraine has been spent or obligated.
The total US aid that Congress has approved so far for Ukraine this year is nearly $54 billion.
Biden signed the last package, totaling $40 billion, into law in May. At the time, the White House said it expected those funds to last through the end of the fiscal year.