Factbox-The big items in Washington's US$40 billion Ukraine aid package
WASHINGTON : The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would provide some US$40 billion in additional military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine following Russia's invasion as the Biden administration predicts a prolonged conflict.
The war has reduced cities to rubble, forced millions from their homes and, according to the U.N. human rights body, killed an estimated 3,500 civilians. Russia has little to show for it beyond a strip of territory in southern Ukraine and marginal gains in the eastern part of the country.
The United States has rushed US$3.9 billion worth of armaments to Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, including howitzers, anti-aircraft Stinger systems, anti-tank Javelin missiles, ammunition and armed drones.
The following are some of the main elements in the funding package:
The legislation includes more than US$4 billion in international disaster assistance to respond to humanitarian needs in Ukraine and other affected countries, including the provision of emergency food and shelter.
The legislation also includes US$350 million in migration and refugee assistance for the U.S. State Department to assist refugees from Ukraine and support to other countries in Eastern Europe.
The number of people who have fled Ukraine to escape Russia's invasion has passed 6 million, in Europe's worst refugee crisis since the end of World War Two, a U.N. refugee agency said on Thursday.
Most have crossed to the European Union through border points in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, where volunteers and governments have scrambled to help them find accommodation and provide support.
ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUND
The package also includes nearly US$9 billion for an economic support fund for Ukraine and other countries affected by the conflict, including programs to combat human trafficking and money that can be used to respond to food insecurity.
The funds may be used to provide direct financial support to the government of Ukraine, according to the bill, although cash transfers would be subject to a memorandum of understanding, and certain safeguards and oversight.
The Global Network Against Food Crises, set up by the United Nations and European Union, said in its annual report this month that Russia's invasion of Ukraine - both countries are major food producers - poses serious risks to global food security, especially in vulnerable countries including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Haiti, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The package includes almost US$15 billion for defense operations and maintenance, which includes US$6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and US$8.7 billion to replenish stocks of U.S. equipment sent to Ukraine.
The legislation includes hundreds of millions of dollars for the procurement of missiles, weapons and tracked combat vehicles, ammunition and aircraft, among others.
It also provides US$4 billion in Foreign Military Financing to provide support for Ukraine and other countries affected by the crisis, and US$100 million for non-proliferation, anti-terrorism, demining and related programs.
PRESIDENTIAL DRAWDOWN AUTHORITY
The legislation authorizes up to a further US$11 billion in Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the president to authorize the transfer of articles and services from U.S. stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency.
The legislation authorizes nearly US$200 million for the U.S. State Department's diplomatic programs to respond to the situation in Ukraine and countries affected by the conflict.
It also authorizes US$110 million for embassy security, construction and maintenance.
(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Additional reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Mary Milliken and Daniel Wallis)