- Live Ukraine-Russia war, breaking news | Russia advances among the ruins of the Donbas and Ukraine prepares for a long resistance
- U.S. Biden presses Republicans to approve $61 billion in aid for Ukraine: 'We can't let Putin win'
The U.S. Congress on Wednesday blocked a $106 billion package of funding for Ukraine and Israel due to opposition from Republicans, who demanded reforms to curb the influx of migrants in exchange for a favorable vote.
This rejection deals a blow to Democratic President Joe Biden, who called for the approval of these funds hours earlier in a solemn speech.
"This can't wait," he said.
"Frankly, I think it's amazing that we've gotten to this point, where Republicans in Congress are willing to give Putin the greatest gift he could ever hope for," Biden added.
The president warned that if Putin, who ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, defeats his pro-Western neighbor, "he won't stop there."
"He's going to go ahead, he's made that pretty clear," and if Russia attacks a member of the Atlantic Alliance "then we'll have something that we don't seek, and that we don't have today: U.S. troops fighting Russian troops," he said.
The U.S. is the country providing the most military support to Kyiv, with more than $110 billion since Russia's invasion.
But Democratic President Joe Biden's pledge to continue financial support for Ukraine is in jeopardy, a catastrophic scenario for Kyiv, whose counteroffensive is faltering.
The Ukrainians insist they need more weapons.
But conservative congressmen, who still publicly support Ukraine, condition this aid on a clear tightening of immigration policy in the face of migrant arrivals across the border with Mexico.
Biden said before the vote he was willing to make "significant concessions" to Republicans.
Negotiations are ongoing.
While waiting for them to bear fruit, Washington announced on Wednesday a new military aid to Kiev for 175 million dollars from the coffers of the Executive. They will be used for air defense equipment, missiles and artillery ammunition.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky canceled a videoconference address to members of the U.S. Congress at the last minute on Tuesday, but spoke to the leaders of the G7 countries on Wednesday.
Putin is counting on the "collapse" of Western support for Ukraine, he told them, acknowledging that the Russian military has "significantly increased pressure" on the front.
"Russia expects only one thing: that the unity of the free world will collapse next year. Russia believes that the United States and Europe will show weakness and not maintain their support for Ukraine at the appropriate level," the Ukrainian president said.
Anticipating a risk of boredom, Zelensky traveled to Washington in September, where he met with Joe Biden and spoke with congressmen.
His visit, however, did not have the desired effect. Mired in internal crises that led to the impeachment of the previous leader of the Lower House, Congress ultimately failed to validate new funding for its offensive.
Unlike most Democrats, Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, voted against the package voted on Wednesday over "deep concerns" about sending funds to the "far-right government" of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
- United States
- Vladimir Putin
- Volodymyr Zelensky
- Joe Biden