US adds $40bn in Kyiv aid


WASHINGTON: The US Senate has approved Joe Biden’s massive new military and humanitarian aid bill for Ukraine, with a huge bipartisan vote in favor of the package as allies boost the fight back against Russia’s invasion of its smaller neighbor.
The final vote moments ago was 86 in favor, 11 against. The vote had been expected last week until Kentucky rightwinger Rand Paul blocked it.
All 50 Democrats in the Senate and all but 11 Republicans supported the bill, which was larger than the original $33bn one first requested by Biden last month.
The US president is expected to sign the bill into law as soon as possible. Russia invaded Ukraine three months ago.
“Help is on the way, really significant help. Help that could make sure that the Ukrainians are victorious,” Senate majority leader and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer said.
Meanwhile, top US General Mark Milley has spoke by telephone with his Russian counterpart General Valery Gerasimov, their first discussion since before Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February, the Pentagon said.
Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gerasimov, chief of the Russian General Staff, “discussed several security-related issues of concern,” according to a spokesman for the US Joint Staff, offering no other details.. –Agencies