WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The United States is once again stepping up assistance to Ukraine.
President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Zelensky on Wednesday, and told him the U.S. will send the country $500 million in direct aid. Meanwhile, lawmakers are also discussing next steps.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., is part of a Republican push to get more weapons to Ukraine, including fighter jets and anti-aircraft missiles.
“Giving the Ukrainians the resources to drive out every last Russian on Ukrainian soil,” Rogers said. “Dithering needs to end. We need to flip the script and make Putin afraid of escalating against the west.”
But Democrats, like Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, worry some weapons could escalate the west’s involvement.
“Part of it is that balance between giving Ukraine the help and not spreading to a wider war,” Smith said.
The White House says there are daily deliveries of weapons to Ukraine. But Communications Director Kate Bedingfield acknowledges that to avoid escalation, one of the president’s main considerations is about what not to send.
“He’s not going to make decisions that is going to lead to direct conflict between the United States military and the Russian military,” Bedingfield said.
She said the new $500 million in aid the president plans to send to Ukraine is meant as financial assistance for the Ukrainian government.
“To bolster its economy and pay for budgetary expenses such as paying salaries and maintaining government services,” Bedingfield said.
General Tod Wolters, the U.S. European Command Chief, told lawmakers the resources Ukraine needs are constantly changing.
“We can’t rest for one second. We’ve got a lot of work to do out in front of us to make sure that the Ukrainian armed forces are getting the right gear at the right time,” Wolters said.
Defense official Celeste Wallander says lawmakers need to be prepared to keep the aid flowing.
“Not just days and weeks, but months of sustainment, perhaps longer for the Ukrainian military and Ukrainian people,” Wallander said.