Ukraine's President Zelenksy hails US House vote for long-delayed $61billion aid package

Ukraine's President Zelenksy hails US House vote for long-delayed $61billion aid package

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr has hailed a $61billion aid package for his country after it was finally approved by the US House of Representatives.

Democrats and Republicans came together after months of political turmoil over renewed American support for repelling Russia’s invasion.

With bipartisan support, the $61 billion in aid for Ukraine passed in a matter of minutes, a strong showing as American lawmakers race to deliver a fresh round of support to the war-torn ally.

Some cheered on the House floor and waved blue-and-yellow flags of Ukraine.

Billions worth of aid to Israel and the other allies also won approval by healthy margins, as did a measure to clamp down on the popular platform TikTok, signs of how unique coalitions formed to push the separate bills forward.

The whole package will go to the Senate, where passage in the coming days is nearly assured. President Joe Biden has promised to sign it immediately.

“We did our work here, and I think history will judge it well,” said Speaker Mike Johnson, who is risking his own job to marshal the package to passage.

Mr Biden, in a statement, thanked Mr Johnson, Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries and the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers “who voted to put our national security first”.

“I urge the Senate to quickly send this package to my desk so that I can sign it into law and we can quickly send weapons and equipment to Ukraine to meet their urgent battlefield needs,” the president said.

President Zelensky said he was “grateful” to both parties in the House and “personally Speaker Mike Johnson for the decision that keeps history on the right track,” he said on X.

“Thank you, America!” he tweeted.

The weekend scene presented a striking display of congressional action after months of dysfunction and stalemate fueled by Republicans, who hold the majority but are deeply split over foreign aid, particularly for Ukraine as it fights Russia’s invasion.

Mr Johnson relied on Democratic support to ensure the military and humanitarian support, with the first major package for Ukraine since December 2022, won approval.

The morning opened with a somber and serious debate and unusual sense of purpose as Republican and Democratic leaders united to urge quick approval, saying that would ensure the United States supported its allies and remained a leader on the world stage. The House’s visitor galleries crowded with onlookers.

Passage through the House cleared away the biggest hurdle to Mr Biden’s funding request, first made in October as Ukraine’s military supplies began to run low.