NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 08:58
The US Senate has blocked a new aid package for Ukraine, among others. The package includes aid worth 110 billion dollars (102 billion euros), more than half of which is intended for Ukraine. The rest of the money was intended for Israel, the Gaza Strip and Taiwan, among others.
Of the 100 senators, 49 voted in favor of considering the bill, which was 11 too few to pass the package. The Republicans in the Senate voted against because they want stricter asylum measures in return for their support, especially at the border with Mexico. The package already includes $20 billion to increase measures at the border, but for Republicans that does not go far enough.
US-correspondent Rudy Bouma:
“The outcome of this vote does not mean that American support for Ukraine is over. It is a political chess game. In the near future, there will be new proposals from Republicans and Democrats for adjustments to this support package. voted on.
The question is how long this will all take. President Biden says there must be an agreement before the Christmas recess on December 15, otherwise Kyiv will get into trouble.”
Independent Senator Bernie Sanders also voted against the aid package in the Senate. He often takes the Democrats’ line, but in this case he voted with the Republicans because he disagrees with the support for Israel.
“I don’t believe we should allocate more than $10 billion for the right-wing extremist government of Prime Minister Netanyahu,” said the senator and former presidential candidate from Vermont. Sanders calls Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip immoral and contrary to international law. “The United States should not be complicit in these actions.”
The run-up to the vote was already tumultuous. This week, a secret briefing with senators on Ukraine turned into a shouting match and at least twelve Republicans left the meeting early.
Gift for Putin
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said before the vote that he wanted to try to break the deadlock. He invited Republicans to make adjustments, after which the billion-dollar package can be voted on again. It is not yet clear when this should happen.
It is clear that the Democrats are in a hurry. “This can’t wait,” President Biden said before the vote. He said Republicans were “playing games with our national security” and called their stance a “gift” to Russian President Putin. He also said that US credibility is at stake.
“If we don’t support Ukraine, what will the rest of the world do,” Biden asked. The president showed himself willing to make commitments in the field of migration to accommodate the Republicans. He must also take into account the House of Representatives, which must also vote on the support package. The Republicans have the majority there and are even more skeptical than the senators about support for Ukraine.
Worries in Kyiv
The US is Ukraine’s most important military ally and the outcome of the vote will further heighten concerns in Kyiv. For example, a package of 50 billion euros of EU aid to Ukraine has also not yet been approved. The EU member states are also unable to deliver the promised ammunition before March.
And then the American presidential elections of November next year will also cast their shadow. In Kyiv, but also at NATO headquarters in Brussels, there are fears that Donald Trump will return as president and that he will withdraw American support to Ukraine.
NATO is afraid that support for Ukraine is slowly eroding, as can be seen in this video from Nieuwsuur:
Cracks in Western support for Ukraine?