SEOUL, South Korea — President Biden on Saturday signed legislation to support Ukraine with an additional $40 billion in U.S. assistance as the Russian invasion approaches its fourth month.
The legislation, which was passed by Congress with bipartisan support, deepens the U.S. commitment to Ukraine at a time of uncertainty about the war’s future. Ukraine has successfully defended Kyiv, and Russia has refocused its offensive on the country’s east, but American officials warn of the potential for a prolonged conflict.
This funding will support Ukraine until September and is much more than an emergency fund that had provided $13.6 billion.
The new legislation will provide $20 billion in military assistance, ensuring a steady stream of advanced weapons that have been used to blunt Russia’s advances. There’s also $8 billion in general economic support, $5 billion to address global food shortages that could result from the collapse of Ukrainian agriculture and more than $1 billion to help refugees.
Biden signed the bill in extraordinary circumstances. Because he’s in the middle of a trip to Asia, a U.S. official brought the bill on a commercial flight to Seoul for the president to sign, according to a White House official.
This logistics reflects a need to continue U.S. support of Ukraine. However, it also demonstrates the overlap in international challenges facing Biden. Even as he tries to reorient American foreign policy to confront China, he’s continuing to direct resources to the largest conflict in Europe since World War II.
Biden signed another unrelated bill, which aims to improve access to infant formula in a period of low supply. The legislation will allow government benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — better known as WIC — to be used to buy more types of infant formula.
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