The US Senate has voted overwhelmingly to approve a $40bn supplemental spending bill to provide further defensive and financial assistance to Ukraine’s government as it continues to resist Russia’s unprovoked invasion.
The bill passed with support from 86 senators — 47 Democrats and 39 Republicans, a sign of the strong bipartisan support for Ukraine’s efforts to defend against Russia.
Only 11 senators — Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn and Ted Hagerty, Montana’s John Boozman, Indiana’s Mike Braun, Idaho’s Mike Crapo, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah, Cynthia Lummis of Mississippi, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama — voted against the funding measure, which Mr Paul had blocked from consideration last week.
Because the House of Representatives has also approved the bill, it will now head to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.
The $40bn spending package is a full $7bn greater than the $33bn Mr Biden requested on 28 April, and will augment the $14bn which has already been allocated to assist Ukraine’s defence against Russia.
In a statement, Mr Biden praised Congress for “sending a clear bipartisan message to the world that the people of the United States stand together with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their democracy and freedom” and thanked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for moving the legislation through their respective chambers at such a rapid pace.
“The resources that I requested will allow us to send even more weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, replenish our own stockpile, and support U.S. troops stationed on Nato territory,” Mr Biden said. “Together with the contributions of our Allies and partners, we will keep security, economic, food, and humanitarian assistance flowing to Ukraine, across the region, and around the world, and further strengthen Ukraine — both on the battlefield and at the negotiating table”.
He added that he is authorising a new security assistance package to provide Kyiv with “additional artillery, radars, and other equipment” that Ukrainian forces “are already using so effectively on the battlefield”.
“These weapons and equipment will go directly to the front lines of freedom in Ukraine, and reiterate our strong support for the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their country against Russia’s ongoing aggression,” he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also hailed the bill’s passage, which she called “a victory for democracy in the world”.
“This funding will make an immediate and substantial difference in Ukraine’s fight to defend its people, its sovereignty, its nation and Democracy against Putin’s accelerating brutality,” she said.