Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova will meet Monday evening with U.S. senators on Capitol Hill as Congress debates the contents of a $6.4 billion aid package President Joe Biden has requested for Ukraine.
Biden’s White House called for the package Friday as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entered its second day. The package includes $2.9 billion in direct security and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and some neighboring countries, as well as $3.5 billion to fund the Pentagon’s response to the invasion, Axios reported.
Markarova will speak with a bipartisan group of more than a dozen senators at a Monday event hosted by Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already vowed that the House will approve any aid package the White House requests, though she is waiting to hear what Biden requests in his State of the Union address Tuesday. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans Demand Pelosi Allow All Members Of Congress To Attend Biden’s State Of The Union Address In-Person)
“Whatever it is, we will support it,” Pelosi told reporters Monday. “We’ll see what the president sends down.”
Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have also expressed openness to passing a package. Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham held discussions with Democratic senators last week to hammer out an aid package.
The aid would be a counterpoint to the suite of sanctions and other economic penalties the U.S. and NATO allies imposed on Russia last week. The alliance had long threatened economic consequences should Putin move forward with a full-scale invasion. Biden’s sanctions targeted Russia’s largest state banks as well as Putin himself and other Russian oligarchs.
Germany also halted the certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a key piece of infrastructure that would have allowed for the transfer of energy resources from Russia to Germany.
Germany, Hungary and Italy have reportedly stood in the way of the U.S. and NATO imposing the most stringent sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, however. Biden alluded to the situation Thursday, saying that removing Russia from the international SWIFT banking system “is not a position that the rest of Europe wishes to take.” Germany officials cracked open the door to such an action on Friday, but no action has been taken.
While the U.S. has ruled out deploying troops directly to Ukraine, Biden has increased the number of U.S. troops in NATO countries near Russia. Biden has threatened that if Putin goes beyond Ukraine and invades a NATO country, Russia will face the full force of American power.