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US Senator: Republicans 'holding Ukraine aid hostage'

by The Kyiv Independent news desk December 10, 2023 10:05 PM 3 min read
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Senator Chris Murphy, a democrat, told NBC News on Dec. 10 that he wished Republicans weren't holding further aid to Ukraine hostage to immigration reform as military assistance to both Kyiv and Israel continues to get held up in Congress.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked a supplemental funding bill that included $61 billion in aid for Ukraine in a procedural vote held on Dec. 6, insisting that any further military aid for Ukraine or Israel must include major significant domestic border changes.

"(Russian President) Vladimir Putin is delighting right now in Republicans' insistence that we get a deal on immigration reform and if we don't, then they're gonna allow Vladimir Putin to march into Ukraine and perhaps into Europe," he said on NBC News' "Meet the Press."

Murphy also said that this is a "crisis moment for Ukraine" as the country is rapidly running out of ammunition.

Russia is steps ahead of Ukraine in ammunition capacities. According to Ukrainian military and government sources, Russia can fire up to 10 times as much ammunition as Ukraine does during high-intensity fighting.

While Russia makes use of its large stock of ammunition, both Ukraine and the EU have so far failed to scale up ammunition production to meet battlefield demands.

EU members have so far placed orders for only 60,000 artillery shells under a joint procurement scheme, which is a key component of the plan to supply Ukraine with 1 million shells by spring, Reuters reported on Dec. 6, citing undisclosed sources.

European and Ukrainian officials acknowledged in November that the EU is behind schedule with its shell deliveries, just as Russia is ramping up defense production and securing ammunition from its partners.

"If we don't solve it in the next few weeks, Vladimir Putin is gonna have an opening to march into the Ukrainian lines, to make a move on Kyiv, threatening all of Europe so this has to be solved right now," Murphy said.

Francis Farrell: Ukraine could still lose the war. Let’s get some things straight
This November has been a particularly grim one here in Ukraine. Over the past month, two media sensations in big Western magazines served as a sober wake-up call about the state of the war. First, Simon Shuster’s profile in TIME magazine on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s “lonely fight”

The situation in Ukraine’s east remains difficult as Russian troops continue conducting offensive operations along the entire front line, Ground Forces Commander Oleksandr Syrskyi reported on Dec. 10.

The ongoing Russian offensive on Avdiivka has heralded a new phase of the war, one that promises to be especially tough for Ukraine.

The new push to take the city came around the time Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive was understood to have culminated, and together, these two facts represent a decisive shift in the battlefield initiative towards Russia.

With future flows of Western military aid under threat both in the U.S. and in Europe, and given the disappointing results of the counteroffensive, Ukraine is slowly coming to terms with being on a defensive posture for the foreseeable future.

"If we cut off Ukraine now, the outcome is certain: Ukraine loses this war, maybe not next month but some time next year, because Europe will not stick with us if the U.S. abandons Ukraine," Murphy said.

Murphy said Republicans were playing games with the security of the world.

"The future of the world is at stake, if we fail, if Republicans don't get reasonable in the next 24 to 48 hours, Russia is going to march (further) into Ukraine," he said.

The White House is planning to intensify its push with U.S. lawmakers to strike a bipartisan deal that includes aid for both Ukraine and Israel as well as security measures at the U.S. southern border, Murphy said.

"The White House is going to get more engaged this week."

Biden all in on aid to Ukraine, yet House remains an issue
In a prime-time address from the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden said he was going to send Congress an “urgent” funding request for aid to Ukraine and Israel on Oct. 20. The administration will attempt to push for $105 billion in assistance to Ukraine and Israel, as the
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