It also requests authority to be able to seize assets frozen by sanctions on Russian oligarchs and sell them.
With an eye on a war what is anticipated prolonged and in its severe global consequences, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, has asked Congress this Thursday $33 billion more to provide assistance to Ukraine as it defends itself from the aggression of Russia.
“It’s not cheap,” the president acknowledged in an appearance at the White House announcing the request, “but it will be more expensive if we allow more aggression“.
Military, economic and humanitarian aid
The money requested by Biden is more than double the previous aid package of 13,600 million of dollars that he got last month in Congress with the support of both the Democratic and Republican parties. It would cover, according to the Administration’s calculations, assistance to kyiv for the next five months. And his main destination would be military and security aidalthough financing is also requested to lend to Ukraine economic and humanitarian assistance.
Of the more than 20,000 million that Biden requests to provide military and security support, 11,400 million would go to equipment2,600 to support the deployment American in the region and 1,900 to provide support on issues of cybersecurity and espionage.
Direct economic aid for the Government of Volodymyr Zelensky would amount to 8,500 million and other 3 billion would finance both the humanitarian assistance as steps to try to ensure the food safety. “Putin has said that the sanctions are blocking food from Ukraine and Russia from reaching the market and it is not true,” Biden defended. “War, not sanctions, is impacting crops and disrupting the movement of that food around the world.”
His measures would be partially aimed at American farmers, with the aim of helping to increase supplies to poor countries dependent on grain from Ukraine that have been affected by the disruptions.
Seizure of assets of oligarchs
In the petition sent to Congress, Biden has also proposed measures that would help the US authorities to seize and liquidate frozen assets for the sanctions to oligarchs Russians, “the kleptocracy of Putin” in the words of Biden, and then dedicate the profits obtained to alleviate the effects of the war in Ukraine.
Currently US federal law allows no more than freezing and Biden’s proposal would expand the authority for seizure and liquidation, though details of how that would be done have not been provided and the step raises questions about constitutionality.
Despite the almost general bipartisan consensus that has so far surrounded the position and steps of the Biden Administration, its latest request may now be affected by questions of national politics. The US president’s proposal is that the package be voted on together with another request for 22.5 billion dollars to respond to the pandemic and that legislation has been stalled in Congress for now by divisions over immigration.