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US Senate Approves $12 Billion for Ukraine in Government Funding Bill

Joe Biden says the US will “never, ever, ever” recognize Russian claims to Ukrainian territories amid impending annexation.

The US Senate has passed a short-term government funding bill providing $12.3 billion in aid to Ukraine as the Biden administration promises to maintain financial support for Kyiv to fight the Russian invasion.

The legislation, approved by a Senate vote of 72-25 on Thursday, is expected to pass the House of Representatives before reaching President Joe Biden’s desk.

The bill would fund the US government through mid-December, averting an imminent shutdown before the fiscal year ends at midnight Friday.

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It also authorizes the transfer of $3.7 billion in US weapons to Ukraine, the latest in a series of major packages from Congress that US lawmakers say are aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s defenses against Russia.

In May, Congress approved $40 billion in assistance to Ukraine and, earlier this year, allocated $13.6 billion for Kyiv to respond to the invasion.

The Biden administration has been doling out the money through regular humanitarian and military aid packages.

Russia launched the invasion of its neighbor in February after a months-long standoff in which Putin demanded an end to NATO expansion in former Soviet republics.

But Moscow’s military campaign has been plagued by setbacks. In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces, backed by US weapons, have recaptured large swathes of territory in a counteroffensive in the country’s east.

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This week, Russia is preparing to annex four occupied regions in eastern Ukraine after Moscow-installed officials in the territories cast widely condemned votes to join Russia.

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The United States and its allies have denounced the so-called “referendums” and rejected Russia’s annexation plans as a violation of the United Nations charter.

I want to be very clear on this. [the] The United States will never, ever, ever recognize Russia’s claims to the sovereign territory of Ukraine,” Biden said Thursday.

US officials have also promised to impose new sanctions on Russia if it goes ahead with the annexation.

On Wednesday, the White House said the annexation push “has no legal significance.”

Washington also pledged to “impose additional economic costs on Russia and on individuals and entities inside and outside Russia that provide support for this action.”

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So far, aid to Ukraine has enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, but a vocal contingency of right-wing lawmakers have been questioning aid ahead of the US midterm elections in November.

“Aid to Ukraine is becoming a monthly subscription cost for the United States,” Republican Congressman Andy Biggs wrote on Twitter earlier this week. “There should be limits and oversight on American taxpayer dollars.”

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