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Biden: 'Failure to support Ukraine at this critical moment will never be forgotten'

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 16, 2024 12:23 PM 2 min read
U.S. President Joe Biden gives a speech in the State Dining Room of the White House on Feb. 13, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
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U.S. President Joe Biden criticized the ongoing impasse in Congress over aid for Ukraine on Feb. 16, the latest of a series of messages aimed at Republicans. Biden characterized their inaction on supporting Ukraine as directly playing into Russian President Vladimir Putin's hands and implied it was a mistake of historical proportions.

Biden's comments came as House Speaker Mike Johnson convened an early recess for Congress without bringing a $95 billion aid package, which includes $60 billion in funding for Ukraine, for a vote. The Senate passed the package on Feb. 13.

U.S. aid for Ukraine has stalled for months and has effectively run out. Domestic political infighting has been amplified by former President Donald Trump's victories in the first presidential primaries. Trump, who opposes further aid to Ukraine, has urged members of his party not to make any deals with Biden.

Johnson said that the Senate bill lacks the stricter border security measures requested by House Republicans and refuses to advance it in the lower chamber. In a memo obtained by The Hill, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates criticized Johnson for prematurely starting the recess, accusing him of causing harm to national security.

"Supporting our bipartisan national security bill is standing up to Putin. Opposing it is playing into his hands," Biden wrote on Feb. 15.

The previous day, he wrote, "For those Republicans in Congress who think they can oppose funding for Ukraine and not be held to account: History is watching."

The House is scheduled to reconvene in Washington on Feb. 28 following the President’s Day recess.

"The only advice I would give the Speaker publicly: Let the House vote on Ukraine. Just let them vote," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told The Hill on Feb. 15.

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