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Joe Biden will pressure Congress to pass Ukraine aid package in Wednesday speech

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President Joe Biden said Wednesday it was “staggering” that Congress has yet to approve tens of billions of dollars in military and economic aid to Ukraine, as his administration warned of disastrous consequences for Kiev – and a “gift” to Russian Vladimir Putin. if lawmakers don’t act.

Speaking at the White House, Biden said Republicans who insist on border policy changes as a condition for voting for aid are “playing chicken with our national security,” although he said he is open to certain changes.

“Republicans in Congress are ready to give Putin the greatest gift he could hope for,” Biden said, asserting that American credibility was at stake, both with other potential aggressors and with its allies. strengthen Putin’s position.”

Biden’s speech comes hours after meeting with leaders of the Group of Seven advanced democracies, who have strongly supported Ukraine against the ongoing Russian invasion, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Biden has asked Congress for nearly $106 billion to fund the wars in Ukraine, Israel and other security needs, but faced stiff resistance on Capitol Hill. Some Republicans are tired of supporting Ukraine after the United States has already sent $111 billion, and other Republican lawmakers are insisting on sweeping changes to U.S. border policy as a condition for voting for the measure.

Biden said he supported more funding for border security, adding, “I’m also willing to change policy,” but accused Republicans of wanting a political issue more than a bipartisan compromise.

The White House has issued increasingly dire warnings to lawmakers about what would happen if they don’t approve the measure before the end of the year, saying Ukraine’s military would be at a standstill, or worse.

“We are the reason Putin didn’t totally invade Ukraine,” Biden said.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders released Monday, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young warned that the United States would run out of funding to send weapons and equipment. aid to Ukraine by the end of the year, saying it would “hurt” Ukraine on the battlefield.

The United States is expected to announce $175 million in military aid to Ukraine on Wednesday, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) guided missiles, anti-armor systems and anti-radiation missiles at high speed, according to U.S. officials.

Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said Tuesday that about $1.1 billion in funds remained to replenish U.S. military stockpiles of weapons and equipment sent to Ukraine. And he said there was about $4.8 billion in withdrawal authorization still available.

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