WASHINGTON: The United States would spend $6.9 billion to help Ukraine fend off Russia’s invasion and support NATO member countries under a budget proposal released Monday by President Joe Biden’s administration.
The funds would represent Washington’s latest allocation of aid following the shock invasion last month, and be used to “enhance the capabilities and readiness of US forces, NATO allies, and regional partners in the face of Russian aggression,” the White House said.
The proposal also outlines spending of nearly $1 billion for the departments of defense and state as well as USAID “to counter Russian malign influence and to meet emerging needs related to security, energy, cyber security issues, disinformation, macroeconomic stabilization, and civil society resilience.”
The money was included in Biden’s 2023 budget proposal, which funds the administration’s priorities for the year and is subject to modification and approval by Congress, where the president’s Democratic Party narrowly controls both chambers.
Western nations to bolster Ukraine aid
Washington has stepped up aid for Ukraine following the invasion, including with $2 billion in security assistance and new equipment, and $1 billion in humanitarian aid the White House announced last week.
The weaponry — including shipments that arrived before the war started — has helped Kyiv mount an unexpectedly tough resistance to Russia’s army, which had been predicted to rapidly overpower the Ukrainian government.
Instead, Russia has faced determined resistance from Ukrainian fighters and lost several generals and senior military figures, while NATO estimates deaths among its troops could be as high as 15,000.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has pressed NATO countries to flood more weapons into Ukraine, including advanced fighter jets, missile defense systems, tanks, armored vehicles and anti-ship missiles.
NATO members have supplied a steady stream of weapons including anti-tank rockets, which have helped to stall Russia’s advance. But these are seen as essentially defensive.
The United States has thus far ruled out sending airplanes or other large weapons systems to Ukraine. Biden says he does not want to cross a line into what he says could become “World War III,” pitting nuclear-armed Russia against NATO.