President Biden asked Congress to approve another $20 billion of military aid to Ukraine on Thursday in order to “help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression.”
Biden also requested for $8.5bn in economic aid to Kyiv and $3bn in humanitarian relief.
In a letter to the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, Biden said: “What I want to make clear to the Congress and the American people is this: the cost of failing to stand up to violent aggression in Europe has always been higher than the cost of standing firm against such attacks.”
But despite his strong rhetoric, he said the US was not attacking Russia. “We are helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression,” he insisted.
He added the cost involved was “a small price to pay to punish Russia and aggression, to lessen the risk of future conflicts”.
“Throughout our history, we’ve learned that when dictators do not pay the price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and engage in more aggression,” he said. “The cost of the threats to America and the world keeps rising. We can’t let this happen.”
Pres. Biden discusses his proposed supplemental aid package for Ukraine: “The cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen.” pic.twitter.com/z0ORSJXavo
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 28, 2022
The military hardware destined for Ukraine
According to the Guardian, the new military assistance the congressional funding will finance will include:
- More artillery and armored vehicles, as well as anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft systems.
- Help to build up Ukraine’s cyber warfare capabilities.
- More intelligence sharing.
- Support to increase Ukraine’s ability to produce munitions and strategic minerals.
- Assistance in clearing landmines and other explosives and in Ukraine’s defense against chemical, biological and dirty bomb attacks.
- Assistance to clear landmines, improvised explosive devices and other explosives and for defending against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials.
- A further buildup in the US military presence on Nato’s eastern flank.
Russia warns Biden that military aid endangers European security
The Kremlin’s official spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, warned on Thursday that an increased western supply of heavy weapons to Kyiv would endanger European security.
“The tendency to pump weapons, including heavy weapons, into Ukraine, these are the actions that threaten the security of the continent, provoke instability,” Peskov said.
The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has accused the US and its allies of fighting a proxy war in Ukraine and warned of the rising danger of a nuclear conflict.
The new Ukraine package is likely to be approved by lawmakers, the BBC says.
“At a time when Biden is struggling to get congressional funding for his domestic priorities, Congress seems to have an unlimited willingness to bankroll military support for Ukraine.”
“$33bn is significant amount, but if the past is any guide it should be approved with relative ease – as long as Democrats don’t try to attach unrelated spending provisions to the legislation,” the British broadcaster added.