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US Senate passes Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan bill; Biden will sign on Wednesday | Russia-Ukraine War

US Senate passes Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan bill;  Biden will sign on Wednesday |  Russia-Ukraine War


The US Senate has passed a multibillion-dollar aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, paving the way for new arms deliveries to kyiv as early as this week.

The Senate, controlled by Democrats, adopted this measure, blocked for months by right-wing Republicans and part of a set of four bills, by 79 votes to 18 on Tuesday evening in the United States.

I will sign this bill and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week, President Joe Biden said in a statement shortly after .

Much of the $95 billion in aid is aimed at Ukraine, which has struggled to push back Russian forces along its 1,000 km (600 mile) front line as weapons dwindle.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed its final passage.

Ukraine's long-range capabilities, artillery and air defense are essential tools to more quickly restore a just peace, he wrote on social media, saying the move strengthens the role of America as a beacon of democracy and leader of the free world.

The bill represents $61 billion for Ukraine, but also provides $26 billion for Israel, as well as humanitarian aid to Gaza, Sudan and Haiti, and more than $8 billion in military support for Taiwan , the democratic island that China claims as its own.

Taipei said it would discuss with the United States how to use the funding. Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office, which does not rule out the use of force to take control of the island, has declared itself resolutely opposed to the inclusion of what it calls Taiwan-related content in the aid program.

Turn the corner

Additional funds for Ukraine have been the subject of months of acrimonious debate among lawmakers over how, or even whether, to help the country defend itself, with hardline Republicans linked to former President Donald Trump demanding concessions on U.S. southern border policy in exchange for support.

A similar package passed the Senate in February but stalled in the House of Representatives until Republican Speaker Mike Johnson, a Trump loyalist, suddenly changed his mind earlier this month, proposing to repackage the measure in four bills.

The new package, which also allows Biden to confiscate and sell Russian assets and provide money to kyiv to finance reconstruction, was approved in the House on April 20, with 311 votes in favor and 112 against.

Senate Democratic and Republican leaders said the vote indicated Congress was back on track.

This national security bill is one of the most important measures passed by Congress in a very long time to protect American security and the security of Western democracy, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters after the vote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican and strong supporter of aid to Ukraine, expressed regret over the delay.

I think we've turned the corner on the isolationist movement, McConnell said.

News agencies Reuters and the Associated Press reported Monday that the Biden administration was already preparing the first tranche of military assistance tied to the bill, with a focus on weapons that could be used immediately on the battlefield.

It was not immediately clear how the money going to Israel, which already receives billions of dollars in U.S. security aid each year, would affect the conflict in Gaza.

Supporters of humanitarian aid hope that humanitarian aid will help Palestinians in the territory devastated by Israeli bombings and facing famine.

At least 34,183 Palestinians have been killed since the conflict began in October, after Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel, killing more than 1,100 people and taking dozens more captive.

The package also included legislation banning popular video-sharing app TikTok unless it divests from its Chinese parent company.




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