The American Senate has taken a first step towards releasing aid to Ukraine and Israel, whose fate remains in the hands of Republican parliamentarians.
The American Congress took a first timid step on Thursday February 8 towards the release of aid for Ukraine and Israel, but its future remains very uncertain, with parliamentarians close to Donald Trump refusing to give a single additional dollar for kyiv. After months of tough negotiations, the Senate finally agreed to examine a text that would release more than 60 billion dollars for Ukraine and 14 billion for Israel, the first step in a process strewn with pitfalls.
Two years after the start of the Russian invasion, elected officials from the United States, the main military supporter of Ukraine, have been unable to agree on the validation of new funds. The Democrats are, in the vast majority, in favor. The Republicans are divided between interventionist hawks, pro-Ukraine, and lieutenants of Donald Trump, much more isolationist.
In the middle of the presidential campaign, the equation has transformed into a standoff between Joe Biden, who urgently demands these new funds, and Donald Trump, who claims that if he were re-elected in November, he would settle the war between Russia and Ukraine “in 24 hours” – without really explaining how.
Putin’s “playing the game”
Thursday’s vote in the Senate is good news for supporters of aid to Ukraine. “It’s a good first step”, greeted the Democratic leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer. But the hardest part remains to be done. After examining the text, senators will take, perhaps as early as this week, a final vote on this large envelope and send it to the House of Representatives, which will in turn examine it.
This is where things get complicated. Majority in the House of Representatives, Republicans including many Trumpists refuse to validate any new envelope for kyiv before the November presidential election, for which Donald Trump is a candidate. Republican parliamentarians also continue to monetize their support against the adoption of strong anti-immigration measures.
This, despite Joe Biden’s repeated pleas. “Supporting this bill is speaking out against Putin. To oppose it is to play the game” of the Russian president, he warned again on Tuesday. However, to be promulgated, this aid must at all costs be adopted by both houses of the American Congress. The failure to adopt new aid would be a huge disappointment for Ukraine at a time when bad news is piling up on the front.
This would also be a significant setback for Joe Biden in the face of his European partners, who on February 1 approved an additional 50 billion euros for kyiv. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday called on the United States and the EU to “Do more” to help Ukraine defend itself against the war of Russian aggression, before flying to Washington where he is due to meet Joe Biden on Friday.
The United States is not much further along in validating funds for Israel, a historic ally at war against Palestinian Hamas since October 7. Because President Biden demands that any aid for Israel be coupled with an envelope for Ukraine. House Republicans refuse, but were unable to pass their own bill this week to force his hand.