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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

US to send $300 million in weapons to Ukraine under makeshift plan




By Helene Cooper


The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it was sending up to $300 million in weapons to Ukraine, the first new aid package for the country since funding ran out in late December.


The package, pulled together from money that Army accountants cobbled from savings from contracts that came in under bid, includes air defense interceptors, artillery rounds and armor systems, senior defense officials said. It was unclear whether the measure included longer-range missiles known as ATACMs.


It is a stopgap measure at best, the officials said, but Ukraine is in dire need of air defense systems in particular, as Russia has continued its bombardment of towns particularly in the east.


The makeshift solution would keep advancing Russian troops at bay for only a few weeks, one official said.


The Senate passed an emergency aid bill including $60.1 billion for Ukraine. But the measure faces an uncertain fate in the House of Representatives, where Republican leaders have refused to put the measure to a vote. While congressional officials say there is a critical mass of support for continuing to arm Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression, the Republican Party is increasingly turning away from its traditional hawkish posture and belief in projecting American power and democratic principles around the world.


House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., who has opposed aiding Ukraine, must navigate a handful of ultraconservative lawmakers who have said they will move to oust him if he allows a vote on Ukraine aid without stringent immigration measures attached.


For President Joe Biden, who has led the way in calling for the West to stand up for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion and occupation, the issue has become an embarrassing one on the international stage.


The American political paralysis has led, Pentagon officials said, to critical shortages on the battlefields of Ukraine. As each day goes by without a fresh supply of munitions and artillery, and Ukrainian crews ration the shells they have, morale is suffering.


Since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration has sent more than $75 billion in cash and equipment to the country for its defense. Most of the aid has gone to Ukraine’s military operations, keeping its government running and addressing its humanitarian needs.


The money ran out in December, and Biden asked Congress for the authority to begin a new infusion of cash and equipment that only Congress can approve. But many Republicans object to pouring more taxpayer dollars into the conflict.

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