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'Don't let Putin win': Biden pleads Republicans to support Ukraine as military aid dwindles

The 81-year-old President asserted that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine and lambasted epublicans in Congress for being willing to give Putin "the greatest gift he could hope for". His remarks come as the White House said that the US is running out of money to support Ukraine.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Washington Published on: December 08, 2023 12:13 IST
US President Joe Biden
Image Source : AP US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden has pleaded with Republicans in Congress for a fresh infusion of military support for Ukraine amid reports of dwindling military supply for Kyiv, warning that a victory for Russia can fuel attacks by Moscow on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) allies. This comes as the US planned to announce $175 million in additional aid for Ukraine.

"If Putin takes Ukraine, he won't stop there. It's important to see the long run here. He's going to keep going. He's made that pretty clear. If Putin attacks a NATO ally. If he keeps going and then he attacks a NATO ally, when we've committed as a NATO member that we defend every inch of NATO's territory," said Biden in an address on Wednesday.

Biden slams Republicans for supporting Putin

The 81-year-old President asserted that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine and accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to subjugate his neighbours to "his iron rule" by committing atrocities against Ukrainian civilians. He also lambasted Republicans in Congress for being willing to give Putin "the greatest gift he could hope for and abandon our global leadership".

"History is going to judge harshly those who turned their back on freedom's cause. We can't let Putin win. And again, we can't let Putin win. It's in our overwhelming national interests and our international interests of all our friends. Any disruption in our ability to supply Ukraine clearly strengthens Putin's position. We've run out of money to be able to do that in terms of authorisation. Extreme Republicans are playing chicken with our national security, holding Ukraine's funding hostage under extreme partisan border policies," he said.

He appealed to Republicans to stand against the "tyranny of Putin" and stand for freedom. "Republicans think they can get everything they want without any bipartisan compromise. That's not the answer. That's not the answer. Now, they're willing to literally kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield and damage our national security in the process," Biden added.

US running out of money to assist Ukraine

Biden's remarks came after the White House warned that it is running out of both time and money to provide military assistance to Ukraine to repel Russia's invasion. The US Department used 97% of its $62.3 billion in supplemental funding by mid-November, while the State Department used all of the $4.7 billion in military assistance funding it had been allocated, according to US budget director Shalanda Young.

One US official said that America has now less than $1 billion in "replenishment authority", meaning that if Congress does not provide new funds to buy replacement equipment and if the Pentagon runs out of funds, the US and Ukraine might be forced to take alternative steps to backfill stocks. 

Fundings for the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the ongoing Israel-Hamas war by the US have been complicated with discussions on border security with Mexico, with many Republican lawmakers questioning the Biden administration on not acting to construct a border wall and a large influx of migrants ineligible for asylum.

Biden said he was willing to make "significant" compromises on the border issue but said Republicans will not get everything they want. "We need to fix the broken border system. It is broken," he said.

(with inputs from Reuters)

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