President Joe Biden sent Congress a request for $33 billion for weapons and to provide economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The proposal, announced by the president on Thursday, would provide billions of dollars of additional assistance to Ukraine through the end of September, a move that has broad bipartisan support in Congress.
“Either we support the Ukrainian people as they defend their country or we stand by as the Russians continue their atrocities and aggression in Ukraine,” Biden said at the White House.
Earlier this year, Congress provided Ukraine with a multibillion-dollar package of military, humanitarian and economic aid as part of a spending bill covering the first two months of the war. Biden said that money was nearly depleted, requiring Congress to provide more to sustain Ukraine’s defenses.
Biden, who prepared the proposal after consulting with his military and national security advisers, made the request to Congress as US and European allies brace for a conflict that could continue for months.
Lawmakers said they were prepared to quickly pass another aid package to Ukraine.
Biden said the military aid would “provide even more artillery, armored vehicles, anti-armor systems, anti-aircraft capabilities that Ukrainian fighters have used so effectively on the battlefield.”
In addition, Biden is asking Congress to pass a legislative package against Russian oligarchs, including a measure that would allow seized funds to be used to help Ukraine.
Proposals in the package include creating a criminal offense by making it illegal for a person to knowingly possess proceeds obtained from corrupt dealings with the Russian government; allowing the confiscation of assets that Russian oligarchs use to evade sanctions; add sanctions evasion to the definition of “organized criminal activity” under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO; and extend the statute of limitations for prosecuting money laundering from five to 10 years.
“This package of proposals will establish new authorities for the forfeiture of assets linked to the Russian kleptocracy, allow the government to use the proceeds to support Ukraine, and further strengthen tools related to law enforcement,” said a statement from the White House.