In the United States, the House of Representatives will vote this week on separate aid projects for Ukraine and Israel

In the United States, the House of Representatives will vote this week on separate aid plans for Ukraine, Israel, as well as Taiwan and other allies, after months of political disputes between the administration of Joe Biden and his Republican opponents, the Republican leader of the lower house of Congress, Mike Johnson, announced on Monday.

An envelope of 60 billion dollars for kyiv (56 million euros), demanded by the Democratic president, has been blocked in Congress for months, just like another envelope for Israel. “This week we will consider separate legislative proposals” including those allowing “fund our Israeli ally” and of “support Ukraine in its war against Russian aggression”said Mike Johnson on the social network. The other legislative proposals are intended to “strengthen our allies in the Indo-Pacific region” − including Taiwan − and “adopt additional measures to counter our adversaries and strengthen our national security”he added.

The passage of these bills is, however, far from guaranteed, with the “speaker” having only a tenuous hold on his troops, a substantial part of whom are opposed to any aid to Ukraine. And while a party of Democrats refuses to send weapons to Israel, complex bipartisan coalitions will have to be crafted. In order to appease his most radical wing, Mr. Johnson is also considering including in the legislative package a provision for part of the aid to be in the form of a repayable loan, and for another part to be financed by the sale of frozen Russian sovereign assets.

Deep bitterness in kyiv

Published following a meeting of Republican elected officials at the Capitol, this announcement comes two days after an unprecedented attack by Iran on Israel. The Islamic Republic fired hundreds of missiles and drones overnight from Saturday to Sunday at Israel, in retaliation for a deadly attack on its consulate in Damascus attributed to Israel.

In this context, Western military support which helped Israel intercept almost all of Iran’s explosive missiles and drones has aroused deep bitterness in kyiv. “By defending Israel, the free world has demonstrated that such unity is not only possible, but also 100% effective.”noted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Monday evening. “The same thing is possible to protect Ukraine”he said.

The day before, he had urged kyiv’s supporters not to “turn a blind eye to Russian missiles and drones” which target Ukraine. By far the primary military support for Israel and Ukraine, the United States has not sent major aid to kyiv since December 2022, due to the blocking of the file by Republicans in Congress.

Johnson under threat of ouster

A package of 60 billion dollars in military and economic assistance for Ukraine was certainly adopted in the Senate, with a Democratic majority, in February. But the Republicans in the House of Representatives refuse to examine the text, due, among other things, to another dispute, on the question of immigration.

A few months before the presidential election on November 5, the issue has transformed into a standoff between Joe Biden and his Republican rival Donald Trump. Last week, Mike Johnson refused to comment on the future of aid to Ukraine, ensuring that negotiations were still ongoing.

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In the process, Donald Trump reiterated his support for “speaker”, who is under threat of impeachment proceedings from the most extreme fringe of the Republican Party. During a meeting in Miami, the two men discussed Ukraine in particular, with the former president however saying he was in favor of loans rather than direct aid.

Reacting to Mike Johnson’s announcement, one of Donald Trump’s closest allies in Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene, immediately said “strongly against the plan as it currently stands”. “This is a new misdirection from the speaker”, castigated the elected official – at the origin of the impeachment procedure – after the meeting at the Capitol. This elected official from the most extreme fringe of the Republican Party accuses Mike Johnson of not sufficiently defending the interests of conservatives and for this reason wants to oust him from his seat.

The World with AFP

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