Biden seeks $33 bln war chest to support Ukraine

STORY: In what would be a dramatic escalation of U.S. funding for Ukraine's war with Russia, President Joe Biden asked Congress for $33 billion to support Kyiv. And the Ukrainian president pleaded with lawmakers to give the request a swift approval.

Biden's massive request includes over $20 billion for weapons, ammunition and other military assistance, as well as $8.5 billion in direct economic assistance to the government and $3 billion in humanitarian aid.

“We're facilitating a significant flow of weapons and systems to Ukraine from our allies and partners around the world, including tanks, artillery and other weapons. That support is moving with unprecedented speed."

Biden’s latest pledge of support came as Russia on Thursday warned the West not to test its patience, accusing the United States and its key allies of undermining European security by openly inciting Ukraine to assault Russia.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova:

"Kyiv and Western capitals should take seriously the statement by our country's Defence Ministry that further inciting of Ukraine to strike Russian territory will definitely lead to a tough response from Russia.”

That followed comments earlier this week from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov – who warned the West not to underestimate the elevated risks of nuclear conflict over Ukraine.

BIDEN: “No one should be making idle comments about the use of nuclear weapons or the possibility of using them. It's irresponsible.”

In addition to his $33 billion request, the President also wants the ability to seize more money from Russian oligarchs to pay for the war effort.

“We're going to seize their yachts, the luxury homes. And other ill-gotten gains.”

The proposal includes letting the Justice Department use the strict U.S. racketeering law once deployed against the mafia to build cases against people who evade sanctions.

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