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US House of Representatives passes $61bn military aid for Ukraine, President Zelenskyy says he is grateful

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 22 Apr 2024, 07:15 am Print

US House of Representatives passes $61bn military aid for Ukraine, President Zelenskyy says he is grateful Ukraine

People outside a residential building destoryed by shelling in Marinka, Ukraine. Photo Courtesy: UNICEF/Ashley Gilbertson VII Photo

The US House of Representatives has approved $61bn (£49bn) military aid package for Ukraine to help the country fight against Russia invation.

The much-delayed measure had vocal opponents in Congress and it took a fragile bipartisan deal to get the $61bn (£49bn) package through, reported BBC.

Republicans announced over a third would be dedicated to replenishing weapons and ammunition.

The aid is likely to include air defence systems, mid to long-range missiles and artillery shells, reported BBC.

It is still not clear when the package will arrive.

The package is expected to be passed by Senate soon and it will then go to President Joe Biden for his signature.

Ukraine, which relies on Western weapons, desperately needs the aid as it struggles to contain invading Russian troops, who have been making steady advances in recent weeks, BBC reported.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted on X: "We are continuing to work with our American partners at all levels to ensure that the Ukraine aid package is passed by the US Senate on time."

"Both the President’s Office and our diplomats are actively working to ensure a positive political outcome of the swift approval, as well as a positive outcome of the package itself, which should include the items that our warriors on the front lines expect so much," he said.

He said: "The time between political decisions and actual damage to the enemy on the front lines, between the package's approval and our warriors' strengthening, must be as short as possible."

The Ukraine President further said, "This strength must be the one capable of truly changing the situation on the frontlines. Frontline air defence is just as important as protection for our cities and villages. Our long-range capabilities, artillery, and ability to expand our area of control are all important."

He said everyday is crucial for the country.

"And I am grateful to all of our friends in the United States, as well as our partners around the world, who see common opportunities and tasks in the same way that we do in Ukraine," he said.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is “a stark reminder” of the challenges to multilateralism and remains the top priority of UN partner the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Security Council heard on Friday.

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ian Borg briefed ambassadors during their annual meeting on cooperation between the UN and the regional body, which is comprised of 57 States spanning Europe, Central Asia and North America, representing one billion people. 

The Maltese Foreign Minister said OSCE countries and their societies “are confronted with an era of profound uncertainty”, given the challenging security situation in the region following more than two years of conflict in Ukraine.

Multilateralism under fire

“Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine not only reverberates through the dark corridors of history, but also serves as a stark reminder of the trials our multilateral system currently faces,” he said.

Borg told the Council that the international rules-based order designed to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war is being rigorously tested in the current unprecedented times.

Multilateral frameworks established not only to prevent the outbreak of conflict but also to nurture lasting peace are now being eroded as they strive to meet the complex demands of today’s world. 

He said these “testing times” should galvanize the international community “to move beyond support for the cause of multilateralism and commit ourselves to effective, tangible and sustainable engagement.”

Meanwhile, the OSCE must remain anchored in the principles and commitments members agreed to 50 years ago, aimed at restoring peace and security across the region.

End the war in Ukraine

“Using the organization as a platform for accountability for acts in breach of these principles, this is why we must, and we will, keep Russia's illegal war of aggression against Ukraine at the top of the agenda,” he said.

Borg visited Ukraine and saw firsthand the devastation caused by the war, which has left thousands dead and forced millions to flee their homes. While in the capital, Kyiv, he also reaffirmed the OSCE’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in accordance with international law. 

“The ongoing attacks must stop. This war must come to an end,” he said, while reaffirming commitment towards securing the release of three OSCE officials who have been detained in eastern Ukraine since April 2022.