Congress Passes $61 Billion in Aid for Ukraine: A Beacon of Hope Amidst Conflict

M1 Abrams SEPv3 Tank

Congress Passes $61 Billion in Aid for Ukraine: A Beacon of Hope Amidst Conflict

The recently passed Ukraine Security Supplemental Appropriations Act will prove vital for Ukraine’s defense as it grapples with ammunition and missile supply shortages.

After six months of debates, with 101 votes from Republicans and 210 votes from Democrats, Congress approved $61 billion in aid to Ukraine on Saturday. Many Ukrainians, particularly those on the frontline and their families, are celebrating the achievement and feel deeply grateful to the American people.

“I am literally crying,” wrote Ukrainian MP Olexandra Ustinova on her Facebook page, commenting on the bill’s passage. Back on February 24, 2022, she happened to be in the U.S. and became one of the very first advocates for Ukrainian support.

“A profoundly impactful package that will directly benefit our soldiers on the front lines and our cities and villages enduring Russian aggression…My heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported our efforts; this is a lifeline to save lives. Special gratitude to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and to all the compassionate hearts across America who, like us in Ukraine, recognize that Russian malevolence must not prevail,” thanked President Zelensky.

“For the past six months, my response to the question ‘How are you?’ has remained consistent: I'm fine, but I'll be much better when the Chamber votes for additional aid to Ukraine,” explained Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova. Many Ukrainians at home and abroad can easily relate to that.

Today’s heated debates were music to Ukrainians’ ears, demonstrating that the majority in the House of Representatives, though held hostage by a contingent of the Republican caucus, fully grasps the significance of Ukraine's victory. The voting concluded with the chanting of “Ukraine” and reminders to maintain decorum as yellow and blue flags filled the room.

This vote confirmed that despite rising isolationist sentiments, the United States remains a beacon of hope for those defending democracy and a reliable partner to its allies, at least till the end of the year.

The package closely resembles the foreign aid proposal approved by the Senate in February. However, the House legislation allocates $10 billion of the Ukraine funding as a repayable loan, aiming to satisfy certain Republican members who were reluctant to approve further aid.

It should be noted that precautions regarding misuse of funds are baseless. As of the beginning of the year, none of the dozens of reports published by more than twenty different agencies has uncovered significant violations, theft, or improper use of U.S. assistance.

It’s important to highlight that more than a third of these funds, totaling $23 billion, will essentially stay within the United States. This allocation is earmarked to replenish American armaments and supplies that will be transferred to Ukraine.

The bill will undoubtedly pass in the Senate quickly, even though it was delayed in the House. Better late than never, as they say. 

In his programmatic speech on the seven principles of Ukraine’s wartime diplomacy, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, said, “In traditional diplomacy, the goal is to navigate issues through various channels, often preferring delayed decisions to let them ‘ripen.’ But in times of war, there’s no luxury of time for that… When lives are at stake, protocols and procedures take a back seat.” He also emphasized that every nation “has the capacity to expedite decision-making.”

This support is vital during a critical period, as Ukraine’s military is facing its most vulnerable point since the beginning of the war, grappling with shortages of ammunition and air defense missiles. Currently, Russia outnumbers Ukraine in artillery shells by a ratio of ten to one.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Foreign Minister is pushing allies to provide Ukraine with seven Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems. His ministry has identified 100 “available” Patriots worldwide, despite Ukraine's need for only twenty-six systems to close the sky. Germany already promised to deliver six systems from NATO countries.

Most importantly, the aid will arrive before the anticipated Russian summer offensive. Numerous decision-makers and experts, including President Zelensky and CIA Director William Burns, have cautioned about the high risk of Ukraine losing the war by the end of 2024 without U.S. support.

Amid Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel on the night of April 13, the strengthening of the axis of authoritarian regimes, and their bold attempts to disrupt the world order, any hesitation on the part of the United States will lead to the destruction of global peace and freedom as we know them.

During Saturday’s debate in Congress, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) reminded us that WWII could have been prevented on such a scale if there had been stronger leadership and recognition that appeasing aggressors doesn’t work. With other nations threatened by unjustified aggression, Ukrainians hope the United States will finally revive its doctrine of “Peace through Strength.”

But today, we are celebrating a significant victory for Ukraine in the U.S. Congress and upcoming bigger victories over Russia on the battlefield.

About the Author: 

Elena Davlikanova is a Democracy Fellow with the Center for European Policy Analysis.