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Biden asks Congress for $33 billion in Ukraine aid, more sanctions enforcement

The funding would include $20 billion in military and security assistance, including weapons and ammunition for Ukraine and its allies in the region.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden asked Congress on Thursday for an additional $33 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine as officials anticipate the conflict stretching on for months.

The funding request includes $20 billion in military and security assistance, including weapons and ammunition for Ukraine and its allies in the region and money to replenish U.S. weapons stockpiles. The package would also include $8.5 billion for the government of Ukraine to respond to the country's humanitarian crisis, counter Russian disinformation and to continue to provide basic services to the Ukrainian people, a senior administration official said.

“Investing in Ukraine’s freedom and security is a small price to pay to punish Russian aggression, to lessen the risk for future conflicts,” Biden said. “Throughout our history, we’ve learned that when dictators do not pay the price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and engage in more aggression, they keep moving. The cost, the threat to America and the world keep rising. We can’t let this happen.”

The White House is also asking for an additional $3 billion in humanitarian assistance, including funding for refugees and efforts to address the global food shortages caused by the disruptions to Ukraine's agriculture sector. 

The funding request, which is intended to last five months, is in addition to the $13.6 billion in funds for military equipment and humanitarian assistance for Ukrainian refugees that Congress approved last month and has already been allocated. That previous package included $3 billion in military aid.

In his remarks from the White House on Ukraine, Biden also called on Congress to pass an additional $22 billion Covid funding bill. He said he didn't have a preference for whether Congress passes the bills individually or together.

Biden said he will travel next week to Alabama to visit a Lockheed Martin plant that manufactures the Javelin anti-tank missile the U.S. has been sending to Ukraine.

Biden also asked Congress for money to help increase U.S. crop production to address a global food shortage as the result of the war and resources to use the Defense Production Act to boost U.S. production of critical minerals and materials that have been disrupted by the war.

"This funding is going to help ease rising food prices at home as well as abroad caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine," Biden said.

The request to Congress paints a picture of the needs U.S. officials see in the conflict ahead. The White House is projecting $5.4 billion to replenish Defense Department stockpiles, $1.9 billion for added cyber capabilities and $2.6 billion for additional troop deployments to support NATO allies.

“The conflict has now entered a different phase, and one that is no less dangerous, as Russia shifts the focus of its assault to Ukraine’s south and east,” said a senior administration official. “As we’ve said, this fight could well last months or more. This conflict will continue to test our unity and our collective resolve to provide Ukraine what it needs.”

Biden will also ask Congress for new Russia sanctions enforcement to strengthen U.S. authority to hold the Kremlin and the country's oligarchs accountable, the White House said.

"We’re going to seize their yachts, their luxury homes and other ill-begotten gains of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s kleptocracy," Biden said.

The proposals aim to make it easier to seize oligarch assets, enable the transfer of money to Ukraine stemming from forfeited property, and target property used to facilitate the evasion of sanctions. They also aim to improve the ability to work with international partners to recover assets linked to foreign corruption.

“We’re not attacking Russia, we’re helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression, and just as Putin chose to launch this brutal invasion, he could make the choice to end this brutal invasion,” Biden said. “Russia is the aggressor, no if ands or buts about it, Russia is the aggressor, and the world must and will hold Russia accountable.”