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The United States finally approved the large aid package for Ukraine

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The United States finally approved the large aid package for Ukraine

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After negotiations and clashes that had been going on for several months, the U.S. House on Saturday has approved finally a large military aid package of around 95 billion dollars which includes 60.8 billion dollars for Ukraine, 26.4 billion dollars for Israel and 8.1 billion for the Indo-Pacific region, in particular for Taiwan. The measure was approved with 311 votes in favor and 112 against. Before coming into force it will also have to be approved by the Senate, which should happen in the next few days and where the positive result of the vote is taken for granted. Biden has already said that he will immediately sign the measure, which has long been awaited by Ukraine, at a time of great difficulty in opposing the Russian invasion.

Approval of this aid had been on the table since October, when it was initially proposed. On Friday, the votes of the Democratic Party had been decisive in a preliminary vote that had prepared Saturday’s vote: they had allowed the Republican Party – which has the majority in the Chamber – to overcome the internal opposition of its most radical wing, opposed to aid, unblocking a stalemate phase that had lasted for months.

It is a big result for Ukraine, helped by the mediation of President Joe Biden’s administration. Biden had supported the aid package but it was an initiative under the responsibility of Congress. It was coordinated by the Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, Republican, who seriously jeopardized his position in order to get the package approved.

The US Department of Defense said that could make it arrive the first supplies to Ukraine, which are expected to include mainly ammunition such as artillery shells for howitzers and rocket launchers, within a week. The Ukrainian army has had a huge need for ammunition for some time. The shortage of military supplies forced heavy rationing which contributed to the successes achieved by Russia in recent months, such as the capture of the city of Avdiivka in mid-February, which had resulted in a redrawing of the war’s eastern front line advantageous for the Russians.

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Shortly after Saturday’s vote, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky He thanked on X (Twitter) the US deputies and in particular Mike Johnson for having approved this “indispensable” aid package.

In Friday’s preliminary vote, something very unusual had happened in the US House. As a matter of practice, given that the Republicans had a majority in the chamber, they should have approved the measure on their own: but for months a harsh conflict had been underway within the party, animated by the more radical wing which does not want to provide further aid to Ukraine, and supports the need for greater disengagement of the United States in foreign policy. With a risky decision that could cost him his job, Johnson had therefore obtained the support of the Democratic deputies, who had supported the package with 165 votes, more than the 151 that had arrived from the Republicans.

The preliminary vote therefore passed with 316 votes in favor and 94 against, 55 coming from Republicans and 39 from Democrats who oppose military support for Israel and call for a ceasefire in Gaza. The package has been split into three different parts – aid to Ukraine, Israel and Asia – which were also voted separately on Saturday to facilitate its approval. To these measures a fourth was added, approved on Saturday together with the aid packages, which includes various provisions that Johnson had included to convince the Republicans: they include the request that the Chinese company ByteDance relinquish control of the social network TikTok, the sale of some Russian assets seized, and new sanctions on Russia, Iran and China.

Some Republican lawmakers have said they want to support a motion of no confidence in Johnson, who is accused of dealing directly with Democrats to push through Friday’s vote. In all this conflict there was obviously a role played by the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who in recent months had repeatedly opposed the aid package, and who has greater isolationism among the main points of his political agenda. In recent days, however, Trump had given a signal of softening in reference to the aid package, avoiding directly criticizing Johnson when he spoke about the ongoing negotiations, and maintaining that Ukraine’s survival is important.

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