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Tusk urges House speaker Johnson to 'take decision' on stalled Ukraine aid after Russian attack on Odesa

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 16, 2024 10:10 PM 2 min read
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk speaks at a press conference with Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina in Warsaw, Feb. 29. (Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk called House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson to "take a decision" on unblocking Ukraine aid after Russia struck Odesa on March 13, killing 21 people.

Aid for Ukraine has been stuck in the U.S. Congress since autumn 2023.

The U.S. Senate on Feb. 13 passed a $95 billion foreign aid bill that includes $60 billion for Ukraine, as well as funds for Israel and other allies, but Johnson has so far refused to put it to a vote in the House of Representatives.

Some House Republicans are reportedly working on another version of the bill that would treat the non-military portion of the package as a loan in hopes of winning support from more hesitant lawmakers.

Johnson also considered passing a future Ukraine aid bill with Democratic votes, assuming that Ukraine and Israel aid could be split into two separate bills, according to Politico.

"Look at Odesa. How many more arguments do you need to take a decision?" Tusk wrote on X on March 16, tagging Johnson.

Twenty-one people were killed and at least 73 injured after the Russian missile attack on March 13.

As of March 16, the emergency services are still working at the impact scene, according to Odesa Oblast Governor Oleh Kiper.

The U.S. earlier pledged a defense aid package of weapons and equipment for Ukraine worth $300 million. This is the first U.S. package since last December.

As $60 billion in funding from the U.S. for Ukraine remains stalled, Kyiv faces critical ammunition shortages.

In February, Ukrainian forces withdrew from Avdiivka, a key-front-line city in Donetsk Oblast, and several nearby villages amid the shortages of weaponry, while Russian troops continued to intensify their attacks, advancing in Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts.

Scholz, Macron, Tusk vow more arms purchases, new initiatives for Ukraine
The leaders of Germany, France, and Poland agreed on new initiatives in support of Kyiv, including more weapons purchases and a future coalition on rocket artillery, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reportedly said on March 15 following a Weimar Triangle meeting in Berlin.
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