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US lawmakers propose major cut to Ukraine funding

Then-US Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer walk shoulder to shoulder as they make their way to the Senate floor after announcing reaching a deal on the budget on February 7, 2018. (File photo)

US lawmakers have proposed a major cut in aid for Ukraine ahead of a looming government shutdown, despite US President Joe Biden's repeated promises to increase Washington's support to Kyiv.

With just days remaining before a possible federal closure, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle reached the conclusion that continued all-out support to Kiev to fight the proxy war against Russia could do irrevocable damage to them.

In order to avoid the crippling US government shutdown, Democrats and Republicans were forced to compromise, agreeing on Tuesday to slash nearly $20 billion in proposed aid for Ukraine following push-back by some Republicans.

"It’s bad policy to bankrupt our own country to send money to Ukraine,” libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul said in a post on X. “I will not consent to easy passage of any spending bill that includes funding for Ukraine. Those in charge of this bill need to either take it out or will have to fight me every step of the way.”

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said "Senate Democrats and Republicans worked in good faith to reach an agreement on a continuing resolution that will keep the government funded and avert a shutdown.”

The sides have reportedly agreed on a stop-gap bill, allocating $6.2 billion for aid to Kiev, a significant drop from the nearly $25 billion originally sought by the Democratic lawmakers for Ukrainian troops.

In the meantime, Russia has warned that the US is pushing the former Soviet republic towards "self-destruction".

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at a meeting of ministry officials on Tuesday that Kiev's US-led Western backers' push for victory on the battlefield against the better Russian troops is pushing the nation towards its annihilation.

“The United States and its allies continue to arm the Ukrainian armed forces, while the Kiev regime continues to throw untrained soldiers into senseless assaults and slaughter,” the defense minister said, adding that these “cynical actions by the West and their henchmen in Kiev are only pushing Ukraine towards self-destruction.”

Kiev has not disclosed statistics about its military losses, but according to Russia’s estimates, the number of Ukrainian servicemen killed since the start of the counteroffensive has now surpassed 83,000, with at least 17,000 killed in September alone.

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