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Biden congratulates new US House Speaker, urges more support for Ukraine

by Dmytro Basmat October 26, 2023 3:15 AM 2 min read
U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the nation from the Oval Office of the White House on Oct. 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Jonathan Ernst - Pool/Getty Images)
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U.S. President Joe Biden congratulated newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson and urged him to act quickly to secure additional funding for national security needs, including aid for Ukraine, according to a statement released by the White House on Oct. 25.

"We need to move swiftly to address our national security needs," said Biden, in an apparent reference to a White House package that would entail $60 billion in funds for Ukraine and $10 billion for Israel.

Johnson, a Republican Congressman from Louisiana, was elected as the new House Speaker mid-day Wednesday, filling the seat left empty for weeks after the ousting of Kevin McCarthy.

Following his election, when asked whether he supports additional aid for Ukraine, Johnson replied: "We all do. ...We are going to have conditions on that so we’re working through," according to NBC News.

"We want accountability and we want objectives that are clear from the White House. But we’re going to have those discussions. It will be very productive," Johnson continued.

The dynamics surrounding the call for increased funding for Ukraine continue to divide U.S. political leaders.

One of ex-President Donald Trump's most loyal supporters in Congress, Johnson has been a critic of the delivery of aid to Ukraine. In May 2022, Johnson voted against a $40 billion aid package to Ukraine, claiming that his focus lies with solving domestic affordability challenges.

President Biden, a staunch supporter of Ukraine, has continuously reaffirmed U.S. support for Kyiv and has called on allies to stand with Ukraine against ongoing Russian aggression.

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A small number of Ukrainian aviators have reportedly started training with the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing earlier this week, familiarizing themselves with “F-16 fundamentals,” Air & Space Forces Magazine reported on Oct. 25, citing a statement by the Air Force’s spokesperson.

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