“Tonight, Beijing and Moscow are watching closely.”

The US Senate voted 79-18 on Tuesday evening to pass a $95 billion foreign aid bill, including a long-awaited $61 billion for Ukraine.

The package, which also included funding for Israel and the Indo-Pacific region, and included a measure in its final version to ban Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok in the United States, has been stalled on Capitol Hill for about six months.

Republicans in Congress loyal to former President Donald Trump had refrained from providing more funding to Kiev, derailing the initiative until House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Los Angeles) last weekend challenged the far-right faction in the House of Representatives that threatened By overthrowing him, and putting an end to the initiative. Successful vote on the floor.

In an important procedural maneuver earlier Tuesday afternoon, the Senate voted to table the bill the chamber sent to them, without amendments, by a vote of 80 to 19. At the end of a long day in Washington, the final vote on the bill was held Tuesday at approximately 9:30 p.m

Opposing senators included Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Barrasso (R-Wisconsin), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), and Bill Hagerty (R-N.D.). Tennessee), and Michael Lee (R-Utah). Roger Marshall (R-KS), Cynthia Lummis (R-WI), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Eric Schmitt (R-MO) ), Rick Scott (R-FL), J.D. Vance (R-OH), and Peter Welch (D-VT)

Before the roll call, Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray (D-WA) told the Senate: “We are now at the finish line. Let us vote to stand with our allies, and let us tell dictators like Putin that they cannot invade sovereign allies freely and unchecked.

She continued: “Tonight, Beijing and Moscow are watching closely to see if we have the vision.” “Our enemies cheer dysfunction. Let's show them unity instead.

“It is time to reaffirm some basic facts,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “Alliances are important.”

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) added: “Tonight, we make Vladimir Putin regret the day he doubted America’s resolve.”

The Russian court rejects Gershkovitch's appeal

A Moscow court on Tuesday rejected the appeal filed by American journalist Ivan Gershkovich, meaning that the Wall Street Journal correspondent will remain in prison until at least the end of June on espionage charges. In the appeals process, his lawyers had asked for the 32-year-old to be released from custody while he awaits trial.

Gershkovitch has been detained in Russia for more than a year, since March 2023. President Joe Biden's administration has strongly denied that Gershkovitch, a New Jersey native and Bowdoin College graduate who grew up speaking Russian at home with his Soviet-born Jewish parents, did not… He had no connection to the American intelligence services.

He was arrested last year while on assignment for the Wall Street Journal in Yekaterinburg. His employers have asserted in vain that his presence there was purely journalistic in nature, and that the charges against him are unfounded, while US foreign policy analysts maintain that Gershkovitch remains a bargaining chip in the Kremlin's hands during its two-year invasion. Ukraine, and the ensuing political confrontation with Washington.

Russian prosecutors have yet to present any evidence of espionage.

The Kremlin threatens to retaliate against any frozen Western assets

Facing mounting pressure that Europe plans to allocate an additional $300 million in frozen Russian assets to Kiev, the head of the Russian Senate said on Tuesday that Moscow would retaliate if those assets were liquidated and given to counter-efforts.

“The Europeans know that there will be a very tough response on our part, an appropriate response,” Valentina Matvienko, the head of the Federation Council, told the state news agency RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

Although the Kremlin's reaction was not specified, Matvienko said that Europe “will lose more than we do.”

Curiously, the Speaker did not mention the US plan, according to a bill passed by the House of Representatives and before the Senate on Tuesday, to extend its sanctions on Russia and use the proceeds of any further seizures to fund Ukraine's defense. .

Stoltenberg said NATO would not expand its nuclear weapons in Europe

In response to recent statements by Polish President Andrzej Duda regarding the possibility of deploying more nuclear weapons in other countries in Eastern Europe, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance currently has no plans to deploy nuclear weapons in other countries such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Entering its third year

At a press conference in Poland with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday, Stoltenberg said: “There are no plans to expand NATO participation arrangements, and no plans to deploy more nuclear weapons in any additional NATO country.”

So far, outside the United States, NATO has deployed American-made nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey since late 2009.

Duda made his comments about NATO's possible expansion of its facilities to member states that do not possess nuclear weapons of their own after the Kremlin announced that it would deploy such tactical weapons in Belarus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *