US Senate approves Ukraine aid package, but fate unclear in House

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) receives US President Joe Biden at the Presidential Palace ahead of their meeting. The US Senate has given its approval for a $95.3 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after many weeks of negotiations. -/Ukrainian Presidency/dpa
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) receives US President Joe Biden at the Presidential Palace ahead of their meeting. The US Senate has given its approval for a $95.3 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after many weeks of negotiations. -/Ukrainian Presidency/dpa
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The US Senate has given its approval for a $95.3 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after weeks of negotiations.

The bill passed 70 to 29 in the Democratic-led chamber, with 22 Republicans defecting to vote with the Democrats to approve the bill.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Senators for passing the bill, which would give his country $60 billion to fight off Russia.

He thanked "every US senator who has supported continued assistance to Ukraine as we fight for freedom, democracy, and the values we all hold dear," in a post in English.

"For us in Ukraine, continued US assistance helps to save human lives from Russian terror." The aid will also ensure "increased security and prosperity for all Americans and all the free world."

But its fate in the Republican-controlled House of Representative is far from certain, as former president and 2024 White House hopeful Donald Trump has urged Republicans to avoid passing legislation that would give President Joe Biden a chance to claim a legislative victory.

The two politicians are likely to battle for the presidency - once again - in November.

In order to make progress after months of stalemate, funds for US-Mexico border security were excluded from the package.

Republicans and others blasted the bill's passage on social media, saying it did nothing for their key concern: the southern US border.

It is now up to Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson to move the bill forward. On Monday, as he has in the past, Johnson bitterly complained about the Senate legislation, saying the failure of the upper chamber to address the border issue means the House will have to "work its own will."

The United States is considered Ukraine's most important ally in the defence against the Russian invasion. Since the start of the war in February 2022, the Biden administration has provided or pledged military aid totalling more than $44 billion for Kiev.

The majority of the $60 billion slated for Ukraine is for military support. It is roughly the amount that Biden had originally requested.

The draft also includes $14 billion for Israel as well as billions in aid for Taiwan and other partners in the Indo-Pacific.