Biden passes into law a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine

Justice Ndlovu
(Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)

President Biden has passed into law a major aid package for Ukraine that will offer the country with $40 billion in security, humanitarian, and economic help as it fights the Russian war in the coming months.

The White House claimed in a statement on Saturday that Biden signed the bill while in Asia. On Thursday, the Senate overwhelmingly approved it.

The deal boosts the total amount of US aid approved by Congress for Ukraine this year to roughly $54 billion to help the country combat a Russian assault that started on February 24.

The president has requested an extra $33 billion for Ukraine from Congress at the end of April, having exhausted the draw-down authority from the previous package signed in March. The final sum reached by lawmakers was higher.

While the White House initially hoped that Congress would attach the package to billions more in COVID-19 pandemic financing, Biden ultimately persuaded leaders to separate the two so that Ukraine aid could be delivered as soon as possible.

The bill was approved by the House 368-57 earlier this month and by the Senate 86-11 on Thursday. Republicans cast all of the "no" votes in the House and Senate.

Nonetheless, congressional support for Ukraine has been a rare example of cooperation in Washington.

The bill authorizes Biden to deliver $11 billion in arms to Ukraine and provides $9 billion to restore depleted US weapons stocks. It also offers approximately $8.8 billion to support Ukrainian government operations and prevent human trafficking, $5 billion in worldwide food relief, $4.35 billion in international disaster aid, and $900 million in refugee assistance.

Ukraine has been fighting Russian forces for for three months, when Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized the massive invasion.

While US officials anticipated Ukraine's capital of Kyiv to fall shortly, Ukrainians have been able to weather Russian attacks and inflict humiliating casualties on Russia.

After a failed attempt to conquer Kyiv, Russia has refocused its mission on Ukraine's south and east.

Officials in the Biden administration believe that the $40 billion will be sufficient to see Ukraine through the current financial year, which ends in September.

The US has deployed heavy weapons to Ukraine and provided intelligence with the Ukrainians, but Biden has said that putting US soldiers on the ground in Ukraine to combat the Russians is not an option.

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