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US Senate passes aid package for Ukraine, Israel amid fears over prolonged war

The US Capitol building in Washington, DC.

The US Senate has overwhelmingly passed a $95-billion so-called aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and the Chinese Taipei, sending the long-delayed legislation to President Joe Biden to sign into law.  

The 100-member Senate passed the bill by 79 votes to 18 late on Tuesday, after the US House of Representatives passed the multibillion-dollar bill in a rare weekend session amid warnings about further contribution by Washington to global crises.

“I will sign this bill into law and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week,” Biden said in a statement shortly afterwards.

“Tonight, a bipartisan majority in the Senate joined the House to answer history’s call at this critical inflection point,” he added.

The new package will provide $26 billion for the Israeli regime, which has been engaged in a genocidal war against the Gaza Strip since last October.

It provides $61bn assistance for Ukraine, paving the way for new weapons deliveries to Kiev as soon as this week, amid the country’s ongoing engagement in a deadly war with neighboring Russia.

The package will also allocate $8.12 billion for the Indo-Pacific, including Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), despite China’s ongoing warnings against the US's meddlesome policies towards the territory, over which Beijing exercises sovereignty.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has welcomed the bill’s final passage.

Since the start of Ukraine's war in February 2022, the West, including the US, has provided ammunition to Kiev. Russia has on numerous occasions warned that the West's military support to Ukraine will prolong the war and further complicate the situation.  

Taipei has said it will discuss with the US how to use the funding, while Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office has said it “resolutely opposes” the inclusion of what it called “Taiwan-related content” in the aid package.

China has sovereignty over the Chinese Taipei, and under the "One China" policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty. The US, too, recognizes the Chinese sovereignty over the self-ruled island but provides it with military aid.

The aid comes against a backdrop of growing protests against Israel's genocidal war in the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children since October last year.   

The US has been the main supplier of weapons and aid to Israel in defiance of international outcry.

Israeli prime minster Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the billions of dollars in US assistance, writing on X that it “demonstrates strong bipartisan support for Israel."

However, the Palestinian presidency condemned the bill as “an aggression against the Palestinian people” and a “dangerous escalation.”

The money would “translate into thousands of Palestinian casualties in the Gaza Strip” and the occupied West Bank, said Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

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