Don’t let Putin win, Biden warns Republicans over spending for Ukraine

‘If Putin takes Ukraine, he won’t stop there’

Alastair Jamieson
Wednesday 06 December 2023 21:57 GMT
President Biden delivers remarks on Ukraine from the White House
President Biden delivers remarks on Ukraine from the White House (Reuters)

President Joe Biden pleaded with Republicans for a fresh infusion of military aid for Ukraine yesterday, warning that a victory for Russia over Ukraine would leave Moscow in position to attack Nato allies.

He spoke as the United States planned to announce $175m in additional aid from its dwindling supply of money for Kyiv.

“If Putin takes Ukraine, he won’t stop there,” he said.

Mr Biden predicted that Putin would attack a Nato ally, and then “we’ll have American troops fighting Russian troops”.

“We can’t let Putin win,” the president stated. The White House warned this week that the US is running out of time and money to help Ukraine repel Russia’s invasion.

Mr Biden has asked Congress for nearly $106bn to fund the wars in Ukraine, Israel and other security needs, but has faced stiff resistance on Capitol Hill. Some Republicans have grown tired of providing support to Ukraine and other GOP figures are insisting on stiff changes to US border policy as a condition of voting for the measure.

Biden said he supports more funding for border security. “I am willing to make significant compromises on the border,” he said. “We need to fix the broken border system. It is broken.”

But he accused Republicans of wanting a political issue more than bipartisan compromise, saying they are “willing to literally kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield and damage our national security in the process.”

It came after Volodymyr Zelensky unexpectedly cancelled an address to the US Senate where he would have appealed for fresh aid.

Ukraine’s wartime president has been pleading with his allies in the West for financial and military help against Russian forces as Moscow’s invasion clocked 650 days.

Majority leader Chuck Schumer said the virtual appearance was cancelled after “something came up at the last minute”.

Although the war has been static along most of its 600-mile front line, both sides have continued to launch airstrikes. Ukraine is working to keep up the pressure over the winter, in order to prevent Russia from solidifying battle lines.

Separately, David Cameron met House speaker Mike Johnson on Wednesday during his first visit to the US since becoming foreign secretary.

As part of the trip, Lord Cameron will hold a series of bilateral meetings including with secretary of state Antony Blinken.

Also on Wednesday, the US Department of Justice made its first use of a war crimes statute to charge four Russia-aligned soldiers with atrocities against an American living in Ukraine in April 2022.

Attorney general Merrick Garland said the charges are being brought under the War Crimes Act, which gives federal prosecutors jurisdiction over alleged war crimes committed against US nationals abroad.

According to court documents, four Russian-affiliated individuals – Suren Mkrtchan, Dmitry Budnik, Valerii Lnu and Nazar Lnu – are charged with conspiracy to commit war crimes and with war crimes allegedly committed against a US citizen living in Mylove, a small village in the Kherson region of Ukraine.

Prosecutors say the defendants abducted the alleged victim from his home, stripped him of his clothes, threw him face-down on the ground, restrained his hands and beat him while simultaneously menacing him with a firearm.

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report.

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