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Russia slams U.S. aid package, saying it will ‘ruin Ukraine’

Russia has, predictably, reacted angrily to a new U.S. $61 billion aid package for Ukraine, claiming that it will only lead to more carnage in the conflict.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Saturday that the U.S. House of Representatives’ approval of further aid to Ukraine “will make the United States of America richer, further ruin Ukraine and result in the deaths of even more Ukrainians, the fault of the Kyiv regime,” Russian news agency Tass reported.

A photograph taken on March 12, 2018 shows the Kremlin complex (Rear) and the Bolshoy Kamenny bridge crossing the river Moskva in Moscow. 

Mladen Antonov | Afp | Getty Images

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said the wider aid package, which also includes aid for Israel and Taiwan, will aggravate global crises.

“The military aid earmarked by the United States for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan will exacerbate the global crises, as the military aid to the Kiev regime is direct financial support of terrorist activity, [the aid] to Taiwan is an interference in China’s domestic affairs and to Israel is a direct path to the unprecedented escalation in the region,” she wrote on her Telegram channel.

Two years after its invasion of Ukraine, Russia accuses Kyiv of “terrorist activity” for conducting sporadic drone and missile attacks against its territory and energy infrastructure. Ukraine rarely comments on such attacks but, like Russia, says it does not target civilian infrastructure.

— Holly Ellyatt

Kyiv breathes a sigh of relief after aid package, but says time is of the essence

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy inspects bunkers, firing ranges, armored personnel carrier trenches and anti-tank trench and receives information from officials during the visit to the Chernihiv Oblast in Ukraine on April 05, 2024.

Anadolu | Anadolu | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked U.S. lawmakers in the House of Representatives for passing a vital $61 billion aid package for Ukraine last weekend, saying the aid “will keep the war from expanding, save thousands and thousands of lives, and help both of our nations to become stronger.”

He asked that the bill, which will be passed to the Senate, be approved as quickly as possible.

“The time between political decisions and actual damage to the enemy on the front lines, between the package’s approval and our warriors’ strengthening, must be as short as possible,” Zelenskyy said on social media platform X.

The aid is a lifeline for Ukraine, whose forces in the east of the country have had to ration their usage of shells amid shortages of supplies. Russian forces have been making gains in the Donbas region, with Ukraine pleading for more air defense systems, artillery and ammunition to turn the tide in the war.

Matthew Savill, the Military Sciences Director at London-based defense think tank RUSI, commented that while the package — and the boost to morale and ammunition stocks — will be welcome for the Ukrainian military, “the main point is that this funding can probably only help stabilise the Ukrainian position for this year and begin preparations for operations in 2025,” he said in emailed comments.

“Predictability of funding through 2024 and into 2025 will help the Ukrainians plan the defence this year, especially if European supplies of ammunition also come through, but further planning and funds will be required for 2025, and we have a U.S. election between now and then,” he added.

— Holly Ellyatt

U.S. House passes $95 billion Ukraine, Israel aid package, sends to Senate

The U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday with broad bipartisan support passed a $95 billion legislative package providing security assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, over bitter objections from Republican hardliners.

U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (L) (R-LA) leaves a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on April 16, 2024 in Washington, DC. 

Win Mcnamee | Getty Images

The legislation now proceeds to the Democratic-majority Senate, which passed a similar measure more than two months ago. U.S. leaders from Democratic President Joe Biden to top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell had been urging embattled Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring it up for a vote.

The Senate is set to begin considering the House-passed bill on Tuesday, with some preliminary votes that afternoon. Final passage was expected sometime next week, which would clear the way for Biden to sign it into law.

The bills provide $60.84 billion to address the conflict in Ukraine, including $23 billion to replenish U.S. weapons, stocks and facilities; $26 billion for Israel, including $9.1 billion for humanitarian needs, and $8.12 billion for the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy expressed his thanks, saying U.S. lawmakers moved to keep “history on the right track.”

“The vital U.S. aid bill passed today by the House will keep the war from expanding, save thousands and thousands of lives, and help both of our nations to become stronger,” Zelenskiy said on X.

The Biden administration is already finalizing its next assistance package for Ukraine so it can announce the new tranche of aid soon after the bill becomes law in order to meet Ukraine’s urgent battlefield needs, a White House official said.

— Reuters

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