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Biden ties Russian gains in Ukraine to 'congressional inaction'

President Joe Biden directly tied the fall of a city in eastern Ukraine to the congressional impasse over additional military funding.
Biden ties Russian gains in Ukraine to 'congressional inaction'
Posted at 2:33 PM, Feb 19, 2024

It's been nearly two years since the war began, and U.S. support for Ukraine has been faltering. 

This weekend, Ukraine lost ground as its forces retreated from Avdiivka in Donetsk, resulting in Russia securing a significant victory.

"Look, the Ukrainian people have fought so bravely and heroically; they've put so much on the line. The idea that now they are running out of ammunition and we walk away, I find it absurd. I find it unethical. I find it contrary to everything we are as a country,” said U.S. President Joe Biden.

In a statement, the president tied that advancement directly to "congressional inaction” over a $95 billion foreign aid bill which would provide money for not just Ukraine, but for Israel and the Indo-Pacific as well. The Senate passed it with overwhelming bipartisan support, but in the lower chamber, the speaker said he doesn't plan to bring it up for a vote and dismissed lawmakers for a recess until the end of the month.

“First, we all must do not something, but everything possible to defeat the aggressor,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. “Please, everyone remember that dictators do not go on vacation.”

At the conference, the question of whether the bill would come through amid political infighting had the administration trying to reassure allies and assert America's leadership.

"Our support is unyielding and unending. The President and I have a firm and solid commitment to you and the Ukrainian people,” Vice President Kamala Harris told Zelenskyy.

But Zelenskyy is warning that there is no plan B.

"We are counting on this positive decision of the Congress. For us, this package is vital. We do not currently look into alternatives because we are counting on the United States as our partner, a strategic partner, that this partner will remain a strategic partner. If we are speaking about the alternative, then this means that it would not be our strategic partner,” said Zelenskyy.

This news came following the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny last week, for which Republican lawmakers have criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin, with Senator Tim Scott saying, “The murderous dictator that is President Putin always looks for ways to take out the competition."

However, there's still a congressional standoff over funding the war that counters Russia's aggression.

"This is a matter of America's national security, which we should put first and put Vladimir Putin last. The problem is, there seem to be some MAGA extremists who actually want to do the inverse," said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

A new Pew poll shows 74% of Americans see the Ukraine war as somewhat or very important to U.S. national security.

SEE MORE: Ukrainian forces don't have enough artillery to battle Russia

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