Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continued advocating for including aid for Ukraine in the national security supplemental, while introducing Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova at an event Monday in Louisville, Kentucky.
Across the Capitol, newly-elected Speaker Mike Johnson is expected to advance a bill this week that only provides aid for Israel, a sign of the division within the most senior members of the Republican Party on support for Ukraine.
“This is a moment for swift and decisive action to prevent further loss of life, and to impose real consequences on the tyrants who have terrorized the people of Ukraine and of Israel. And right now, the Senate has a chance to produce supplemental assistance that will help us do exactly that,” McConnell said. “Enemies abroad will be watching closely and waiting for America to falter. Only our concrete and credible support can deter our adversaries in the future and restore security.”
He tied aggression against Israel and Ukraine together, telling attendees, “Think of it as an axis of evil: China, Russia and Iran. So this is not just a test for Ukraine. It is a test for the United States and from the free world. And the path toward greater security for all of us is simple: Help Ukraine win the war.”
Johnson told CNN last week he supports Ukraine aid but needs “conditions” on it. Johnson vowed on Sunday to move forward with a $14.5 billion aid package for Israel when the House returns later this week, according to sources on his first GOP conference call since ascending to the top job. That package would be detached from Ukraine aid.
McConnell pushed back on the members of his own party who have argued against further aid for Ukraine.
“Some say our support for Ukraine comes at the expense of more important priorities. But as I say every time I’ve got the chance, this is a false choice,” he said. “If Russia prevails, there’s no question that Putin’s appetite for empire will actually extend into NATO, raising the threat to the US trans-Atlantic alliance, and the risk of war for us.”
CNN’s Melanie Zanona and Haley Talbot contributed to this report.
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