Biden is asking for $33 billion in military and humanitarian aid
President Joe Biden is asking Congress to approve $33 billion in security, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
The request, which will be sent to lawmakers on Thursday, includes $20.4 billion in additional security and military assistance to Ukraine and to U.S. efforts to improve European security in cooperation with NATO allies and other partners in the to strengthen the region. The resources would be used to put equipment in the hands of Ukraine’s military and police and help NATO defend itself against Russia in the long term.
Another $8.5 billion would provide economic assistance to help the Ukrainian government respond to the crisis caused by the Russian invasion and continue to provide basic services such as food, energy and healthcare to its citizens. Part of the funding targets Russian disinformation, support for agribusinesses during the fall harvest and the purchase of natural gas by Ukraine’s state-owned energy company.
About $3 billion in humanitarian assistance would be used to meet food security needs around the world, provide wheat and other commodities to people in need, and help people displaced by or otherwise affected by the war .
An additional $500 million in domestic food production aid would support production of US crops such as wheat and soybeans, which are suffering global shortages due to the war in Ukraine.
►Poland’s border protection agency says it has registered 3 million border crossings into Poland from neighboring Ukraine since the Russian invasion, including some with people who have crossed the border multiple times. About 1.6 million refugees have received ID numbers that allow them to work in Poland and receive free health care and education.
Russia says it has the right to attack several nations aiding Ukraine
Russia has the right to attack military targets in several NATO countries that supply arms to the Kiev regime if Ukraine has the right to attack military targets in Russia, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. Zakharova cited comments from James Heappey, Britain’s Secretary of State for Armed Forces, who said this week that Ukraine has a legal right to attack military installations on Russian territory in order to disrupt Russian forces’ logistics. Not disturbing them would “directly contribute to death and carnage” in Ukraine, Heappey said.
“Do we have the right understanding here? After all, it leads directly to deaths and bloodshed on Ukrainian territory. As far as I know, the UK is one of those countries,” Zakharova said on her Telegram channel.
The Biden administration announced Thursday that it will seek approval to streamline the process for seizing sanctioned Russian assets and use proceeds from the assets to support Ukraine in its war with Russia. The White House said it will send the proposal to Congress along with an additional request to Congress in support of Ukraine.
According to a White House fact sheet, the administration would incorporate the new streamlined process to involve the Treasury and Justice Departments to forfeit property in the United States owned by Russian oligarchs that the US has sanctioned.
The United States and allies around the world have sanctioned 21 members of Russia’s Security Council, and other Putin associates have been sanctioned along with the 140 oligarchs and Kremlin officials.
The White House is also asking for permission to use forfeited oligarch funds to “repair damage inflicted on Ukraine by Russian aggression.”
– Rebekah Morin
UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities on Thursday and condemned the atrocities in places like Mariupol and Bucha. He pledged to continue efforts to expand humanitarian aid and ensure the evacuation of civilians from bombed cities. Earlier this week, Guterres met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and said Putin had “agreed in principle” to allow residents to be evacuated from conflict zones.
“The sooner this war ends the better – for the good of Ukraine, Russia and the world,” he tweeted.
The city council warns that around 100,000 residents who remained in Mariupol are in “mortal danger” because of the shelling and are living in unbearable and unsanitary conditions. Threats include cholera, dysentery and e-coli, the council said in a statement. Mayor Vadym Boychenko said the city lacks water and sewerage due to relentless Russian airstrikes. And he fears the warming weather will accelerate the decomposition of thousands of corpses beneath the rubble, fueling powerful and deadly epidemics.
“The occupiers are unable to provide the existing population with food, water and medicine – or they simply have no interest in doing so,” he said. “They block all evacuation attempts. Without them, people will die. An immediate and complete evacuation is required.”
The US has reliable information that Russian military forces have executed Ukrainians who tried to surrender near Donetsk, US officials say. The US has credible reports and photos of people being killed “execution-style” with their hands tied, including bodies with signs of torture and reports of sexual violence against women and girls Global Criminal Justice Ambassador Beth Van Schaack,
“These images and reports suggest that atrocities are not the result of rogue entities or individuals; rather, they reveal a deeply disturbing pattern of systematic abuses in all areas in which Russia’s armed forces are engaged,” she told a United Nations meeting on Wednesday.
Investigators and volunteers also recorded what US officials have described as a “disturbing campaign” of brutality against civilians in towns near Kyiv after Russian forces withdrew from the area.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy detailed accounts of murder, rape and torture in an address to the UN Security Council after the visit to Bucha. He said Russian forces had “killed entire families”, crushed civilians with tanks, severed limbs and slashed throats.
A prisoner swap held despite unprecedented tensions between Russia and the US closed early Thursday. Trevor Reeds mother shared the news on Twitter that her son had returned to US soil while standing up for Paul Whelan, another American detained in Russia.
“Trevor is back in the States,” Paula tweeted early Thursday. “It was a day of joy for us, but not for #PaulWhelan and his family. I know this is a tough day for her. Please keep her (and MANY others) in your prayers.)”
The 30-year-old Navy veteran had spent almost three years in a Russian prison after being accused of assaulting a Russian police officer after a night of drinking. He was sentenced to nine years. The Biden administration has released Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who is serving a 20-year sentence for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States
Russia was unable to replace the sunken cruiser Moskva with another ship as the Bosphorus Strait remains closed to all non-Turkish warships, according to the UK MoD’s latest wartime assessment. The strait connecting the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea was closed by the Turkish government days after Russia invaded Ukraine two months ago. The strait connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara.
Despite the “embarrassing losses” of the landing ship Saratov and the cruiser Moskva, the Russian Black Sea Fleet retains the ability to attack Ukrainian and coastal targets, the assessment warns. Ukraine claims to have sunk eight Russian ships.
About 20 ships of the Russian Navy are currently in the Black Sea operational zone, including submarines, the assessment said.
At a time when Russia is wielding its energy industry like a hammer (and sickle), a new report shows just how powerful this weapon is. A study released Wednesday by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air calculates that Russia has made $66.5 billion from fossil fuel exports since its troops invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, with Germany being the biggest buyer.
Using data on ship movements, real-time tracking of gas flows through pipelines, and estimates based on historical monthly trade figures, the researchers estimated that Germany paid Russia about 9.1 billion euros ($9.65 billion) in fossil fuel supplies during the first two months of the war has paid.