More aid to Ukraine ahead of Biden’s State of the Union address

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 3:02 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - This year’s State of the Union Address by President Joe Biden coincides with a critical international moment…..It’s nearly the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine. On Friday, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed, “I am authorizing our 31st drawdown of U.S. arms and equipment for Ukraine since August 2021, valued at $425 million. In addition, the U.S. Department of Defense will be committing another $1.75 billion in support for Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to help strengthen Ukraine’s military.”

However, support for Ukraine has changed in the U.S. Congress. This, as Russian President Vladimir Putin is threatening a massive new offensive against Ukraine, mobilizing as many as half a million troops.

Earlier this week, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine said, “I think Russia really wants some big revenge. I think it has already started.”

The U.S. State Department insists, “Russia alone could end its unprovoked war today. Until it does so, we will stand united with Ukraine for as long as it takes.” President Biden is expected to repeat that theme of unity at the State of the Union Tuesday.

Justin Logan, CATO Institute says it’s increasingly difficult to pass multi-billion dollar aid packages to Ukraine through the Congress.

“I think they’re going to be hard questions raised by members of the new Congress, we heard just yesterday, the chair of the House Armed Services Committee say that he thinks the war needs to end this summer, and that the US administration needs to bring pressure to bear both on Zelensky and on Putin.

The U.S. has given Ukraine more than $100 billion in humanitarian, financial and military aid since the war began a year ago. At the same time, there’s a growing recognition that the conflict cannot continue indefinitely, as Logan of the CATO Institute notes, “this war could go on for several more years easily. And I think that clearly is not in the US interest.”

The 2022 address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress came just days after Russia invaded. Last year, President Biden pledged that the U.S. would, “continue to aid the Ukrainian people as they defend their country and help ease their suffering.”

Biden added, “together with our Allies, we’re providing support to the Ukrainians in their fight for freedom.”

Back in October, as Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) began his campaign to become Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, he suggested that Ukraine would no longer get a blank check and must be held responsible for spending. This week, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been lobbying Congress for continued support for his European neighbor.