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Ukraine war latest: US Senate Democrats block bill to aid Israel without Ukraine support

by The Kyiv Independent news desk November 8, 2023 12:33 AM 5 min read
The U.S. Capitol building is seen in Washington D.C. on Oct. 24, 2023. (Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Key developments on Nov. 7:

  • US Senate Democrats block bill to aid Israel without Ukraine support
  • Central Election Commission: Elections are not held during wartime
  • Zelensky: First Dutch F-16 jets already in Romania
  • Media: EU believes Ukraine has implemented 4 of 7 steps needed for membership talks
  • Russian strikes damage infrastructure in Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk oblasts

Democrats in the U.S. Senate on Nov. 7 blocked a Republican-sponsored bill to provide emergency aid for Israel without sending any funds to Ukraine, Reuters reported.

The bill, which was passed by the Republican-led House of Representatives last week, came under criticism from Democrats for delaying support to Kyiv and for politicizing the conflict in Israel.

"Our allies in Ukraine can no more afford a delay than our allies in Israel," said Democratic Senator Patty Murray, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

‘We can’t allow Putin to prevail,’ says Speaker Johnson after being elected, but his track record says opposite
Representative Mike Johnson, elected speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 25, has been deemed bad news for Ukraine. Johnson regularly voted against aid for Ukraine and was backed by the Ukraine-skeptic hard-right in his bid for speakership after the weeks-long scramble to replace th…

Several weeks ago, the White House presented a broad funding package of $105 billion that tied together $61 billion in aid for Ukraine with around $14 billion for Israel, as well as other items.

This plan encountered opposition from House Republicans and recently appointed Speaker Mike Johnson, who said that backing Tel Aviv in its fight against Hamas takes priority and proposed a stand-alone funding bill for Israel.

To become law, the bill would have to pass both the House and the Senate and be signed by President Joe Biden, who said he would veto it should it pass.

Central Election Commission: Elections are not held during wartime

According to Ukraine's legislation, elections are not held during wartime under martial law, the Central Election Commission's deputy chair, Serhii Dubovyk, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) on Nov. 7.

The Commission did not receive any information regarding possible preparations for presidential elections in the spring of 2024 and, according to Ukrainian law, "could not have received them," Dubovyk said.

When asked whether the presidential powers would be automatically extended next year, the official said that the "constitution clearly states that the president of Ukraine exercises his powers until the newly elected president of Ukraine takes office."

With President Volodymyr Zelensky's traditional five-year mandate span coming to an end next year, discussions arose about whether a new presidential vote would be held amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

The president rejected the idea of holding elections as "irresponsible" while speaking during one of his regular addresses on Nov. 6.

Zelensky: First Dutch F-16 jets already in Romania

Five Dutch F-16 fighter jets have already arrived at a training center in Romania to help prepare Ukrainian pilots for flying the aircraft, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Nov. 7.

"I'm grateful to the Netherlands and Prime Minister Mark Rutte for leading the way in supporting Ukraine," Zelensky wrote on the social media platform X.

Estonia’s parliamentary commission backs using frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine
The Constitutional Commission of the Estonian parliament supported the government’s bill to use frozen Russian assets for Ukraine funding, the Estonian public broadcaster ERR reported on Nov. 7.

"We keep working together to welcome F-16s into Ukrainian skies as soon as possible."

The Dutch Defense Ministry announced earlier on Nov. 7 that the five F-16s are en route to Romania.

The Netherlands will provide 12-18 F-16s for training purposes, but the jets will remain Dutch property and will only be flown in NATO territory, the statement said.

Media: EU believes Ukraine has implemented 4 of 7 steps needed for membership talks

The European Commission believes Ukraine has fully implemented four of the seven steps required to start EU accession talks, according to an internal Commission document obtained by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

The EU's executive body is expected to issue its assessment of Ukraine's progress on Nov. 8, with several media outlets suggesting earlier that the report should be positive.

According to the internal document cited by RFE/RL, the European Commission sees the following criteria as fulfilled:

  • The adoption of legislation on a selection procedure of judges of the Constitutional Court in line with Venice Commission recommendations;
  • The completion of the integrity vetting of candidates for the High Council of Justice members and creation of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine;
  • The alignment of anti-money laundering legislation with the standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and approval of a strategic plan for reforming the entire law enforcement sector;
  • The alignment of Ukraine's media legislation with the EU audio-visual media services directive.

The three remaining criteria — the fight against corruption, de-oligarchization, and the protection of national minorities — are not yet fully implemented, the European Commission wrote, according to the RFE/RL.

Russian strikes damage infrastructure in Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk oblasts

Russian forces launched two missile strikes on the civilian infrastructure of a settlement in the Zaporizhzhia district, the regional governor Yurii Malashko reported on Nov. 7.

No casualties were reported, according to the oblast governor, who didn’t provide any further details.

Earlier the same day, Russian forces hit an infrastructure facility near Kryvyi Rih in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Governor Serhii Lysak wrote, without specifying what exactly was hit.

There were no casualties in the attack, according to preliminary information cited by Lysak.

Military Intelligence: Russia stockpiling missiles in anticipation of freezing temperatures
Russia is “waiting for the temperature to drop below zero” before launching mass strikes on Ukraine’s energy system, Vadym Skibitskyi, a representative of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence (HUR), said in an interview with RBC Ukraine on Nov. 6.
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