US senators suggest supplying Ukraine with weapons originally planned for Afghanistan
A new bill unveiled by United States Senate Democrats on Jan. 12, would not only impose sweeping sanctions on the Russian Federation in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, but also foresees more active military aid to bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities.
The bill contains provisions to impose severe sanctions on top Russian government officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, and the Russian banking system.
"This legislation makes it absolutely clear that the U.S. Senate will not stand idly by as the Kremlin threatens a re-invasion of Ukraine," the Democratic chairman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menendez, said in a statement.
The proposed legislation, backed by the White House, states that “during fiscal year 2022, the United States should give priority to the delivery of excess defense articles to Ukraine over the transfer of such articles to other countries and regions.”
The authors of the bill are convinced that U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken should present a strategy to the Senate on how to strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities. U.S. Senate Democrats have also demanded a plan to transfer to Ukraine weapons originally marked for operations in Afghanistan prior to the U.S. withdrawal from that country.
They also said it was vital to focus on training Ukrainian military personnel.
Currently, over 100,000 Russian troops are estimated to be deployed on the Russian-Ukrainian border and in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories, reports Ukrainian intelligence.
The situation on Ukraine's eastern border is a matter of deep concern for both U.S. and EU officials. According to U.S. president Joe Biden, the White House is looking at a range of options to dissuade Russia from a potential attack on Ukraine.
Biden has defined these measures as “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people believe he may do.”
The head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, previously stated that the Ukrainian government deemed the threat of a direct Russian invasion unlikely.
However, in early December, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Russian aggression towards Ukraine could intensify in late January 2022.
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