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Biden urges Congress to pass Ukraine aid

AFP
Thursday, Dec 07, 2023

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden pushed feuding US lawmakers on Wednesday to urgently pass military aid for Kyiv, warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not stop with Ukraine and could even clash with Nato.

Democrat Biden said he was ready to make a “significant compromise” with Republicans who are blocking $60 billion in Ukraine assistance while they seek tough measures against migrants on the border with Mexico.

“This cannot wait,” Biden said in an address at the White House. “Frankly, I think it´s stunning that we´ve gotten to this point in the first place, where Republicans in Congress are willing to give Putin the greatest gift he could hope for.”

Biden was speaking after a video summit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the leaders of G7 nations to discuss how to shore up western aid for Kyiv.

Biden warned that if Putin, who ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, defeated its pro-western neighbor “he won´t stop there.” “If he keeps going and then he attacks a Nato ally when we´ve committed as a Nato member... then we´ll have something that we don´t seek and that we don´t have today: American troops fighting Russian troops.”

Ukraine´s Zelensky unexpectedly canceled a planned videolink appearance with US senators on Tuesday in which he was to have appealed for continued funding.

The Senate is due to hold a procedural vote later on Wednesday on an emergency $106 billion package that includes the assistance for Kyiv plus aid for Israel´s war with Hamas, and for border security. Senate Republicans are making their support for additional Ukraine funding contingent on Biden´s Democrats accepting reforms to the asylum system and tightened border security -- measures the Democrats have already rejected.