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Kelly, Senate leaders back slimmed-down aid package for Ukraine, Israel

By Ben Giles
Associated Press
Published: Monday, February 12, 2024 - 3:44pm

As former President Donald Trump and a growing number of Republicans oppose U.S. aid to Ukraine, the Senate's leaders argued in strong terms on Sunday that the money is crucial to pushing back against Russian President Vladimir Putin and maintaining America's global standing.

In the Capitol for a rare weekend session, the Senate voted again to move forward with the assistance as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky issued stark warnings about the consequences of abandoning longtime U.S. allies in Europe.

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, too, warned of dire outcomes if Putin wins the war in Ukraine.

“You know, I’m convinced that if he’s successful in Ukraine, he’ll be looking for the next target,” Kelly said.

“I mean, he has committed criminal acts, war crimes against the people of Ukraine,” Kelly continued, urging Congress to support $95 billion in aid not just for Ukraine, but Israel as well. “It’s unfortunate that this has been slow going at this point, but I think Ukraine can be successful here, and they can win this thing.”

Sunday’s bipartisan 67-27 vote comes as former President Donald Trump and his allies in Congress work to kill the aid, which Senate leaders have been trying to pass for months.

The Senate is pushing through several procedural votes on the slimmed-down package after an attempt to pair it with legislation to stem migration at the U.S. border collapsed.