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Top Congress Democrat says 'Pro-Putin faction' of Republicans stalled Ukraine aid

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 6, 2024 9:19 AM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky walks with Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries as he arrives for a meeting with members of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
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U.S. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said the months-long delay in aid to Ukraine was the result of the "growing pro-(Russian President Vladimir) Putin faction in the Republican Party," in an interview with 60 Minutes released on May 5.

The U.S. assistance for Ukraine had been blocked in the U.S. Congress since October 2023 until April, when House Speaker Mike Johnson called a vote on a foreign aid package that included $61 billion for Ukraine.

The Ukraine aid bill was promptly approved by both chambers and signed by U.S. President Joe Biden, restoring the flow of American military assistance.

Jeffries singled out Republican congresswoman and conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene, who he characterized as leading the faction.

Greene has led the effort to oust Johnson over his decision to hold a vote on Ukraine aid and has also repeatedly disparaged Ukrainian leaders and spread widely debunked conspiracy theories about the country.

The minority leader added that his views were largely shared by top Republicans in Congress, who have also recently expressed concern about the growing influence of Russian propaganda within the party.

The obstruction of the faction has not just hurt Ukraine's defensive efforts, said Jeffries, but also undermined U.S. national security.

Russia's previous history of aggression toward Ukraine and Georgia illustrates that allowing Putin to win in the current full-scale war would encourage future military adventurism, he added.

"We can't let Ukraine fall because if it does, then there's a significant likelihood that America will have to get into the conflict—not simply with our money, but with our servicewomen and our servicemen."

Jeffries also disputed the notion that U.S. support for Ukraine has been an unsuccessful endeavor, which has been regularly argued by Republican opponents of aid.

Beyond the fact that Ukraine has been able to hold off Russian forces for more than two years, Jeffries said that "at least half of the Russian military that existed in February of 2022 is gone."

"This has been a strategic success by any definition."

What Ukraine lost while waiting for the US aid bill to pass
The long-awaited passing of the U.S. aid bill in the House of Representatives over the weekend was swiftly followed by a collective sigh of relief in Ukraine and among the country’s allies. But frustration at the delays caused by political infighting in Congress has not completely subsided, as
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