The Pentagon is ready to send Ukraine a military aid immediately after the vote in Congress

The Pentagon has said it is ready to promptly send a military aid package to Ukraine after the US Congress approves the relevant bill. This was stated by Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder, as reported by the VOANews correspondent.

“Just as we have done in the past, we can act within days… The aid package will likely include things like air defense and artillery,” Ryder said.

Politico also reported that the Pentagon was preparing a package that would include artillery and air defense equipment. Unnamed US officials said that there was no final decision on the package, which could be the first to be voted on by Congress.

According to one official, Defense Department officials are working on the package’s contents, which could move swiftly through the bureaucracy once the president passes and signs the law.

“They will very quickly pass this recommendation on to the secretary of state, and shortly after that, it will go to the president,” the source said.

The source said that many US weapons are already in warehouses across Europe and could be sent to Ukraine immediately. The delivery of some weapons to Ukraine could occur within a few days, while others might require weeks.

The US House of Representatives held a procedural vote on four foreign aid bills, including one for Ukraine, on April 19, paving the way for their eventual introduction to the House floor.

316 members of the US Congress’s lower house supported the project, while 94 voted against it. A simple majority of 218 votes was enough to pass the bill.

During the voting, the split majority of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives actually changed into something resembling a bipartisan coalition.

Congress simultaneously attempted to appease Donald Trump, who insisted on turning the non-repayable financial assistance into a loan. However, it would be incorrect to refer to the terms of the funds as a loan; specifically, the president’s decision envisions a mechanism for the swift cancellation of the “debt” from Ukraine.

Congress mentions in the draft law that the purpose of US military support is to enable Ukraine to “defend and defeat the Russian Federation.”. 

The Pentagon has set aside more than $3.5 billion to buy air force equipment, suggesting that the Ukrainian Armed Forces may eventually receive new fighter jets.

Also, the announced purchase of $5.6 billion worth of shells—probably to replace those to be supplied to Ukraine—and $2.7 billion worth of missiles.

Interestingly, the Congress obliges the president to provide Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles “as soon as possible.” Note that Biden retains the right to defy the requirement by providing Congress with security justifications.

Finally, in a separate law, Congress wants to allow the seizure of Russian assets for Ukraine and oblige the government to strengthen sanctions against Russians.

Thus, House Speaker Mike Johnson’s draft largely repeats and even significantly strengthens the bill passed by the Senate in February, which the Speaker refused to put to a vote at the time.

On Saturday, April 20, the House of Representatives will vote on the package of bills. Members of the House will consider all the amendments that passed the procedural committee the day before, and then put each bill to a vote in turn.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson introduced a package of bills that include support for Ukraine, which provides approximately $61 billion in aid to Ukraine and its allies.

If passed in the House, the four bills will go to the Senate as a single package. US President Joe Biden’s signature will complete its final approval.

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