Ukraine Aid Revolution: Could Lindsey Graham's New Strategy Change The Game?

By Maria Angelino | Wednesday, 20 March 2024 04:30 PM
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On Tuesday, Sen.

Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) proposed a new approach to U.S. aid to Ukraine, suggesting that the country should be supported through interest-free loans.

This proposition could potentially garner Republican backing for Ukraine's defense against the Russian invasion.

Sen. Graham, who recently visited Ukraine and met with its President Volodymyr Zelensky, shared his views during a press conference in Kyiv. He stated, “I told the president, I am all in for helping Ukraine, but we have to do it in a form of a loan, no interest, waivable if necessary — for all of our allies. This is going to be a new way of doing business. I think it will get more public support back home.”

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The South Carolina senator was among the GOP legislators who opposed a bill last month that would have allocated $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, along with other foreign spending.

The concept of utilizing frozen Russian assets in U.S. and European banks to finance Ukraine aid was initially proposed by GOP Senators in talks with former President Trump last month. Sen. Graham reiterated this proposal on Tuesday, revealing, “I’ve learned that there’s $380 billion of Russian sovereign wealth assets frozen, $200 billion are in Belgium, and we need to get that money to help Ukraine and help ourselves.”

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Former President Trump also expressed support for the loan-based aid approach last month, stating that no funds “in the form of foreign aid should be given to any country unless it is done as a loan.”

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Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) indicated last week that the House's version of Ukraine aid would significantly differ from the Senate's proposal last month. He expressed openness to either a loan or lend-lease program for military aid.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who is vying to succeed Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as GOP leader next year, also endorsed the idea of using frozen Russian assets to repay an American loan. “It would be justice to make the Russians to pay for Ukraine, pay the United States and allies for arming Ukraine,” the Texas senator said.

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Sen. Cornyn also expressed optimism about the House passing a Ukraine aid package, stating, “I’ve heard the Speaker now say ‘We’re not going to leave Ukraine empty-handed,’ or words to that effect.”

Ukrainian leaders have persistently appealed to American politicians for increased aid, citing the severe challenges posed by dwindling supplies and ammunition in resisting Russian advances.

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