Biden asks Congress for $33 bn more in Ukraine aid

Washington, Apr 28 (EFE).- President Joe Biden on Thursday formally asked Congress to approve $33 billion in additional aid for Ukraine, of which more than $20 billion will be for military assistance to support Kyiv in its fight against Russia’s invasion, now in its second month.

“Basically, we’re out of money,” Biden said in remarks delivered at the White House on Thursday. “That’s why today, in order to sustain Ukraine as it continues to fight, I’m sending Congress a supplemental budget request that’s going to keep weapons and ammunition flowing without interruption to the brave Ukrainian fighters.”

He said that it is crucial that Congress give the green light to the aid, adding that US aid so far has made the difference on the battlefield, helping Ukrainian forces to win the battle for Kyiv, a reference to the success Ukraine had in repulsing Russian forces attempting to take the capital city.

“The cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we let it happen,” the president said. “We either back the Ukrainian people as they defend their country, or we stand by as the Russians continue their atrocities and aggressions in Ukraine.”

Biden’s aid request includes, besides weapons and ammunition for Ukraine, $8.5 billion in direct economic assistance and $3 billion in humanitarian aid for the wartorn East European country.

At the same time, the president proposed on Thursday that Congress donate to Ukraine the funds confiscated from Russian oligarchs as partial compensation for the material damage caused to the country by Russia’s military campaign, bombardments and missile strikes.

Biden’s announcements come after on Sunday US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the highest-level visit by US officials to the country since Moscow launched its invasion on Feb. 24.

Since then, tens of thousands of Ukrainians continue trying to flee their country each day, with more than 5.2 million already having left, according to the latest figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The refugee crisis is the worst in Europe since the end of World War II and the number of displaced persons is approaching those of other national exoduses, including the Venezuelan diaspora, with six million people abandoning that country since 2014, and the Syrian exodus, with 6.8 million people fleeing the Middle Eastern nation after a decade of warfare.

EFE afs/ssa/si/bp

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