The United States cannot afford to remain passive in the face of the conflict in Ukraine, Joe Biden explained Thursday to justify his request to Congress for a colossal budget extension of 33 billion dollars mainly to deliver more military aid to kyiv. Of this total, 20 billion must go to the supply of armaments, nearly seven times more than the impressive quantities of arms and ammunition already supplied to Ukraine since the Russian invasion, launched on February 24.
kyiv has already received 10 anti-tank weapons for each Russian tank, boasted the American president during his speech at the White House.
The United States “does not attack Russia”
But the United States “does not attack” Russia, he assured, it “helps Ukraine defend itself” against Russian “atrocities and aggression”. The Kremlin had earlier warned against arms deliveries to Ukraine which “threaten European security”.
These 33 billion additional aid must now be released by the US Parliament. But the discussions between elected officials, whose support for kyiv is nevertheless unanimous, stumble for the moment on the content of the law supposed to extend military aid: the Democrats want to insert an amendment therein to increase the budget for the fight at the same time. anti-Covid in the United States, which the Republicans categorically refuse.
If Democratic Senator Leader Chuck Schumer tries to tie the two together, “it will likely doom both” to failure, a Republican Senate leadership has warned.
Biden attacks Putin again
For Ukraine, this aid is urgent: more than two months after the start of the conflict, Russia has redoubled its assaults on the south and east of the country, which suffered heavy fire from bombs on Thursday. And having confined itself to weapons seen as defensive, Washington is now sending artillery, helicopters and drones to the Ukrainian army, whose soldiers are trained in the use of these weapons in the United States or in third countries before returning to the front. .
Joe Biden also castigated Thursday the “irresponsible” threats of Vladimir Putin of a possible recourse to nuclear weapons. “It shows the sense of despair felt by Russia faced with its miserable failure in terms of its initial objectives,” he judged.
EU seized over $30 billion in Russian assets
His administration wants to increase the pressure on the Russian president and his entourage by proposing to liquidate the “kleptocratic” assets seized from Russian oligarchs and to transfer the proceeds to kyiv “to compensate for the damage caused by Russian aggression”, the White House said in a statement.
These assets seized amount to date, for the countries of the European Union (EU) alone, to more than 30 billion dollars in Russian assets, including nearly 7 billion in luxury goods belonging to the oligarchs (yachts, works of art, real estate and helicopters), indicates this press release.
His insufficient measures
The United States meanwhile “sanctioned and detained ships and planes worth over $1 billion, as well as freezing hundreds of millions of dollars in Russian elite assets in US accounts.” And, this month, Spain granted a US request to seize a superyacht, worth $90 million, owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.
Punitive measures that should not weaken, the White House promising Thursday to continue to “crack down” on maneuvers “to avoid sanctions” by strengthening American capacities for investigations and prosecutions against oligarchs tempted to evade them .