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Biden, Scholz meet in Washington to discuss US aid for Ukraine

by Nate Ostiller February 10, 2024 10:46 AM 2 min read
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sits next to U.S. President Joe Biden at a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office at the White House on Feb. 9, 2024. (Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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U.S. President Joe Biden met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Washington on Feb. 9, devoting much of their discussion to American support for Ukraine.

U.S. aid remains stalled in Congress due to hesitation from the Republican party, which both Scholz and Biden warned could have serious consequences for Ukraine's ability to defend itself.

The visit came as a bill containing $60 billion in aid for Ukraine inched forward in the Senate after months of delays. U.S. officials have warned that funds for Ukraine have essentially run dry in the absence of new legislation.

The Republican hold up on supporting new aid packages is "close to criminal neglect," Biden said as he met with Scholz in the White House.

Scholz has warned in recent weeks that even increased support for Ukraine from Europe cannot make up for a significant decrease in aid from the U.S.

"The president is very clear, and we agree: If it is not possible to bring about a decision in the American Congress that releases funding for the further support of Ukraine, then that is a threat to Ukraine’s ability to defend itself," Scholz said after a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators.

After being criticized for a sluggish response after the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Germany has scaled up its military assistance to Ukraine, becoming the second-largest provider of security aid after the U.S.

Germany's parliament approved its 2024 budget on Feb. 2, which included 7.6 billion euros ($8.2 billion) in military aid for Ukraine.

The budget received criticism from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, known for its amicable views toward the Kremlin. Peter Boehringer, an AfD lawmaker, said there would be "no debt" for the war in Ukraine if AfD were in charge.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced already in November 2023 that Berlin plans to double its aid for Ukraine for the following year, going from 4 billion euros to 8 billion.

While Germany ramps up its military support, Scholz has criticized other EU countries for not providing as much as they can to assist Ukraine's defense efforts.

Pentagon spox hints US air defenses continue to flow to Ukraine
Pentagon spokesperson General Pat Ryder hinted on Feb. 9 that air defense missiles and other capabilities are still flowing to Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI).
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