The United States Congress approved Tuesday to provide a $40 billion assistance package to Ukraine, as the White House warned that Russia was preparing for a protracted battle with its southern neighbour.
The bill authorising defence, humanitarian, and economic assistance passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 368 to 57, with the leaders of the two major political parties having already achieved an agreement on the specifics. It is expected to pass the Senate at the end of this week or the beginning of next week.
As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said to her Democratic colleagues before of the vote, “With this assistance package, America sends a loud statement to the world of our unshakeable commitment to stand with the valiant people of Ukraine until victory is achieved.”
On Monday, congressional leaders reached an agreement to release $6.8 billion more than the $33 billion initially asked by the White House to assist the Eastern European nation in fending off Moscow’s invasion of the country.
To supplement the cash sought by the government, an additional $3.4 billion will be allocated for military and humanitarian support, for a total of $3.6 billion.
According to current expectations, if the package is approved by the Senate, the United States would spend around $54 billion to strengthen Ukraine’s defences against Russia’s invasion and solve the accompanying humanitarian disaster.
The White House hailed Tuesday’s decision as a “important step” in assisting Ukraine in its efforts to “protect their democracy” against Russian aggression, according to a statement.
“As the president said yesterday, we cannot afford any more delay in this critical endeavour,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “We cannot afford any further delay in this critical work.
In the same week that the assistance effort was launched, a senior US official cautioned that Russian President Vladimir Putin was preparing for a lengthy conflict that may not finish with Russian triumph in the east.
The Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, testified before Congress on President Vladimir Putin’s preparations for a lengthy struggle in Ukraine, during which he still plans to accomplish objectives outside the Donbas.
She went on to say that Putin was banking on the United States and the European Union’s commitment to erode as the battle continued to generate food shortages and inflation, as well as a spike in oil costs.