Proposal for emergency funding for Ukraine receives bipartisan support in Congress

WASHINGTON – New funding legislation to address the Ukraine crisis is in the works, with the possibility of action next week, U.S. lawmakers said on Tuesday.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress are signaling support for additional spending in the context of the Russian military deployment in eastern Ukraine. Some lawmakers are also pushing for arms transfers from the US to Ukraine – support already underway.

“I have been on the phone with Democratic senators for the past two days. We’re talking about an urgent supplement that will be created next week,” South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a senior appropriate, told reporters Tuesday.

The comments came before President Joe Biden referred to Russia’s actions as “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine” and announced strong new sanctions against Moscow. Russia’s recognition of the independence of several regions of eastern Ukraine and its decision to deploy forces has raised fears that President Vladimir Putin will soon launch a full-blown invasion.

Biden has sent about 5,000 troops from the US to Germany and Poland, and another 1,000 from Germany to Romania in recent weeks in a show of support for the NATO allies. On Tuesday, Biden said recent US troop movements were “totally defensive”, while repeating: “We have no intention against Russia.”

Earlier in the day, a bipartisan group of 21 US lawmakers who attended the Munich Security Conference in Germany over the weekend issued a joint statement condemning Russia and voicing support for both “a free Ukraine and a free Ukraine.” and peace” as well as Congressional action in support of NATO. . Graham and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, DR.I., lead the group.

“We are committed to working towards any emergency supplementary legislation that will best support our NATO allies and the people of Ukraine, and support freedom and safety around the world.” written statement. “No matter what happens in the coming days, we must ensure that dictator Putin and his corrupt oligarchs pay a heavy price for their decisions.”

Key details are still unclear, including how much the supplement is suggested and what it will pay for. However, New York Times reported that the new spending bill would increase lethal aid to Ukraine, help the Department of Defense fund the deployment of troops to NATO countries to the north and west of Ukraine, and prepare neighboring countries of Ukraine for refugees.

Although Republicans disagree on supporting Ukraine, a Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, has signaled support for these lines and for a strong defense budget. stronger in general.

“We must also stand with the brave Ukrainians who fight to defend their sovereignty. The United States and all of Ukraine’s friends must ensure a pipeline of assistance, including weapons, flows to the Ukrainians against Russian aggression,” McConnell said. “We must also strengthen NATO’s defenses along the bloc’s eastern flank and make it clear that aggression against NATO countries will face an overwhelming collective response.”

For his part, Graham wants the funds to support NATO allies against Russian cyber attacks and send more American weapons to Ukraine. He also wants the money to set up an intergovernmental task force from the ministries of State, Justice, Treasury and possibly Defense to punish Putin and Russian oligarchs.

“I want to see the police come in and take the apartment, find the artwork, seize the yacht from a bunch of thugs and crooks,” Graham said. “I want to put money to get more weapons for Ukraine to fight. I want more protection when it comes to cyberspace. And I want to go to this great extent and I want to go hard. ”

Sen. Marco Rubio, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressed concern that a cyberwar with Russia “could rapidly escalate to something far more dangerous, including against Russia.” kinetic military head”.

Rubio, Florida, also called on the US to send more weapons to Ukraine. “Let’s speed up the amount of defensive weapons we give them,” he told Fox News.

Democrats also voiced support for more lethal aid to Ukraine, including Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz. Kelly chairs the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, which oversees security cooperation policy.

“I have supported and will continue to assist in providing Ukraine with weapons and equipment to defend itself against Russian aggression, and will continue to work with my colleagues and this administration to defend sovereignty of Ukraine,” Kelly said in a statement.

Joe Gould is a senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics, and the defense industry. Proposal for emergency funding for Ukraine receives bipartisan support in Congress

Jake Nichol

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