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Scholz meets with US senators in Washington ahead of talks with Biden

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 9, 2024 11:09 AM 2 min read
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (L) with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Washington, D.C., in a photo posted on Feb. 9, 2024. (Olaf Scholz/Twitter)
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 8 for talks with members of Congress and a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden scheduled for Feb. 9. Aid for Ukraine was expected to be a central part of the talks.  

The visit comes as Congress has been deadlocked on future aid for Ukraine for months. The Senate voted on Feb. 8 to proceed with a stripped-down foreign aid package that includes funds for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan without reforms to border policy, potentially paving the way for passage after Republicans blocked a bipartisan border security and foreign aid bill.

The package contains $60 billion for Ukraine, $14.1 billion in aid to Israel, $9.2 billion in humanitarian assistance, and $4.8 billion to support regional partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

The vote to advance the bill does not ensure its ultimate passage, and there may still be hurdles before it clears the Senate. The bill's prospects are also unclear in the Republican-controlled House.

Scholz said that he had met with senators from both parties, writing on Twitter that "Ukraine needs all of our support in order to defend itself against Russia’s aggression."

The chancellor also shared a picture of him talking to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, an ostensible proponent of U.S. aid for Ukraine, who nonetheless voted against the bill moving forward.

"While I want to help Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, we must help America first," Graham wrote on Twitter on Feb. 8.

Scholz wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ahead of his trip that the West "must stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes," a phrase that Biden commonly used in 2022 and 2023. Biden changed his rhetoric in December 2023, saying instead that the U.S. will support Ukraine for "as long as we can."

In comments to reporters as he boarded the flight to the U.S., Scholz said, "What has been pledged so far in Europe and what has been pledged by decisions of the (U.S.) Congress isn’t yet enough."

"So we must achieve a way for all of us together to do more."

Germany passes 2024 budget providing over $8 billion in military aid for Ukraine
“I welcome the German Bundestag’s approval of 7.6 billion euros in military aid to Ukraine in the 2024 budget. I appreciate that our agreements with (Chancellor Olaf Scholz) are being implemented,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said on the social media platform X.
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