March 2, 2024

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Republicans in the US Senate block aid to Ukraine, blaming Democrats

Republicans in the US Senate block aid to Ukraine, blaming Democrats

US support for Ukraine is teetering on the brink of collapse. The last dollars have been spent, and there is no more to come. The renewed funding that the White House has been pushing for months, which is vital for Ukraine, took another step back from view on Wednesday.

In the afternoon, Democrats introduced a $111 billion support package in the Senate, dedicated, among other things, to arming Ukraine ($50 billion) and Israel ($14 billion). All Republicans voted against it.

Although Democrats hold a slim majority in the Senate, at least 60 of 100 votes are needed because of so-called “Fillibuster” regulations. They kept a low profile.

Republicans have attached internal conditions to foreign aid to Ukraine. They refuse to accept any aid package as long as it does not include tougher US border and immigration policies. They blame the Democrats for the lack of support for Ukraine, who refuse to respond to this request.

Political barter

“It is clear that some of our colleagues would rather see Russia trample a sovereign nation in Europe than do what is necessary to fortify America’s sovereign borders,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said.

The Democrats, in turn, accuse the right of political bargaining on the back of Ukraine. “You can’t say I support Ukraine, but only if I pass this completely unrelated policy,” said Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

There is no way out of this impasse yet. Diplomatic pressure from Ukraine, which sent a large delegation to pressure Washington, D.C., this week, had little effect. 51 senators voted against the resolution, compared to only 49 in favor.

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Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who usually toes the Democratic line, voted against the resolution on Wednesday. This had nothing to do with borders, or even with Ukraine, but with support for Israel which was also included in the package. Sanders calls it “completely irresponsible” to now provide Israel with additional resources without strings attached, due to the rising death toll in Gaza.