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US Senate moves one step closer to passing Ukraine funding

The Senate voted on 9 February 2024 to push a $95.3 billion funding package for Ukraine, Israel and other security priorities closer to passing the upper chamber. Fourteen Republicans joined Democrats and two independents to formally begin debate on the legislation, the Hill reported.
155 mm artillery shells
155 mm artillery shells which Ukraine critically lacks after the disruption of US aid in December 2023. Illustrative photo.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stripped the border security provisions from the bill. The Hill reported that the Senate voted 64-19 on Friday evening to proceed with the bill. However, many Republican senators were upset the legislation didn’t include provisions to stop the flood of migrants across the southern border.

Fourteen Republicans joined Democrats and two independent Senators to begin debate on the legislation formally.

The bill is expected to provide crucial $60 billion to Ukraine through military material and financial aid. It also provides $14 billion in security assistance to Israel, $9 billion for humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza, the West Bank, and Ukraine, and $4.8 billion to support Taiwan and other allies in the Indo-Pacific.

The Senate package provides $9 billion more for US defense needs than what Biden initially requested and takes $4 billion away from direct budget support to Kyiv.

While overall EU countries contribute the most to Ukraine in terms of money spent, the US remains the primary donor of military equipment and ammunition which Europe lacks. The EU failed to match its initial promise to provide 1 million artillery shells during 2023. Without US support, the  Ukrainian army wouldn’t receive enough artillery shells and air defense missiles to repel Russian attacks.

In particular, after the pause in US aid for already two months, Ukraine was forced to further reduce the norm of artillery ammunition expenditure to 2,000 shells per day, which is five times less than Russians fire. This has already resulted in Russian crippling gains around the east-Ukrainian city of Avdiivka.

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