US Senate approves $40 bn in aid for Ukraine

Washington, May 19 (EFE).- The US Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a $40 billion military and humanitarian aid package so that Ukraine can continue defending itself against Russia’s invasion of its territory.

The measure, which passed by an 86-11 vote, had already been easily approved by the House of Representatives and will now soon be signed by President Joe Biden so that it may enter into force.

The funding approved by Congress is even greater than the $33 billion that Biden had requested from lawmakers in April to support Kyiv in its fight to fend off the Kremlin’s massive military onslaught.

“Help is on the way, really significant help. Help that could make sure that the Ukrainians are victorious,” said Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, adding that “This is a large package, and it will meet the large needs of the Ukrainian people as they fight for their survival.”

Meanwhile, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that aid to Ukraine goes “far beyond charity,” adding that “The most expensive and painful thing America could possibly do in the long run would be to stop investing in sovereignty, stability and deterrence before it’s too late.”

“The future of America’s security and core strategic interests will be shaped by the outcome of this fight,” McConnell said before the vote.

The measure was supported by all Democratic senators and all but 11 Republicans, with most if not all of the dissenting votes coming from lawmakers who were – and continue to be – close to former President Donald Trump.

The same aid package was approved last week by the House in a 368-57 vote.

The $40 billion package comes as the US government is on the verge of exhausting the $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine that Congress had approved in March after Russia launched its invasion.

The new package contains significant funding for weapons and ammunition, although it also includes direct economic assistance for Kyiv along with humanitarian aid such as sending food to the wartorn country.

It is not yet known when Biden will sign the bill, given that he departed on Thursday for South Korea and Japan, but he is expected to affix his signature to the legislation in the coming days.

Nevertheless, Biden said in a statement on the bill: “I applaud the Congress for sending a clear bipartisan message to the world that the people of the United States stand together with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their democracy and freedom.”

The president went on to say that he will announce another package of security assistance on Thursday.

EFE er/eat/bp

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