The U.S. President announced a request for additional large appropriations from Congress for military and economic assistance to Ukraine.
On Thursday afternoon, President Biden delivered an address at the White House in which he spoke about a new package of assistance in support of Ukraine in its confrontation with Russian military aggression. The President noted that this assistance will cost the United States dearly, but if the Kremlin’s aggression drags on for a long time, the final costs will be even higher.
“Either we will help the Ukrainian people to defend their country, or we will stand aside, and Russia will continue aggression and brutality in Ukraine. Ukrainians are paying with their lives every day [for this aggression], and we need to provide them with weapons, funds, ammunition and economic assistance so that their sacrifices are not in vain,” Joe Biden said.
“It is critically important,” the U.S. president continued, “that this funding be approved as soon as possible… We are not attacking Russia: we are helping Ukraine to defend itself from Russian aggression. Putin always has a choice to stop this brutal invasion. The aggressor is Russia, there is no doubt about it, and the whole world will make her answer for it.”
“At the same time, the money that we allocated [to help Ukraine earlier] is already running out. That is why I am sending a request to Congress for additional budget allocations that will ensure uninterrupted supplies of weapons and ammunition to brave Ukrainian fighters, as well as stable economic support to the Ukrainian people,” the head of the White House explained.
As White House press Secretary Jen Psaki said yesterday, the administration is requesting the entire amount that will be required by the end of the fiscal year to provide Ukraine with military, humanitarian and economic assistance.
New opportunities will allow U.S. officials to seize more assets of oligarchs, transfer their funds to Ukraine and impose criminal liability for evading sanctions, the White House says.
These steps include allowing the Justice Department to use the U.S. Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which was once used against the mafia, to prosecute sanctions-evading oligarchs.
In addition, Biden wants to give prosecutors more time to prepare such cases by increasing the statute of limitations on money laundering cases to 10 years instead of five. He would also like to criminalize the possession of money knowingly obtained from corrupt transactions with Russia, the summary of the proposals says.
These measures are part of U.S. efforts to isolate and punish Russia for the invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24, as well as to help Kyiv rebuild the country after the war that turned cities into ruins and forced more than 5 million residents to leave it.
Since the beginning of the Russian aggression, U.S. military assistance to Ukraine has exceeded $ 3 billion. The United States and its European allies have frozen $30 billion worth of assets of oligarchs linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, including yachts, helicopters and real estate.