Record $866 billion US defense budget clears Senate without significant Ukraine aid
US Congress (Photo: White House)

The US Senate passed landmark defense legislation authorizing a record $886 billion budget, only $300 million of which is set to provide further military aid for Ukraine, reported Reuters and The Hill.

The bill was adopted by 87 votes "for", with 13 lawmakers voting "against".

The draft defense budget envisages strengthening US national security abroad: $11.5 billion is planned to be allocated to contain China in the Indo-Pacific region and another $800 million to support Ukraine.

At the same time, Reuters reports that only $300 million are for Ukraine. This amount is tiny compared to $61 billion in aid for Ukraine, included in President Joe Biden's package of additional funding, journalists note.

Both outlet note that Biden "strongly supports" the bill and is expected to sign it into law.

The approved document will also extend to 2024 Biden's authority to provide or lease arms to Ukraine and other Eastern European countries affected by the Russo-Ukrainian war.

On December 6, 2023, President Biden appealed to Congress to approve additional funding for military assistance to Ukraine. He emphasized that failing to stop Russian President Putin in Ukraine could allow further Russian aggression, potentially requiring direct U.S. military involvement down the line.

The White House announced that previously approved funding for Ukraine aid will be depleted by the end of 2023 without passage of a new congressional package.

Despite these concerns from the Biden administration, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has expressed confidence that Ukraine can overcome any potential pause in U.S. military assistance.