US President Joe Biden on Friday demanded Congress “step up” and overcome divisions on sending aid to Ukraine, saying that a massive Russian air attack demonstrates that the Kremlin hopes to “obliterate” the pro-Western country.
“Unless Congress takes urgent action in the new year, we will not be able to continue sending the weapons and vital air defense systems Ukraine needs to protect its people. Congress must step up and act without any further delay,” Biden said in a statement.
The latest barrage raining down on Ukraine — estimated by Ukrainian authorities to include 158 missiles and attack drones — was the “largest aerial assault on Ukraine since this war began,” Biden said.
The “brutal attack” included missiles with hypersonic capability, the US president said.
“It is a stark reminder to the world that, after nearly two years of this devastating war, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s objective remains unchanged. He seeks to obliterate Ukraine and subjugate its people. He must be stopped,” Biden said.
The Democratic party leader said that Americans should be “proud” that US military aid has helped Ukraine fight for its “freedom and its independence.”
The stakes, he said, include the future of the NATO alliance and the security of Europe and the United States: “When dictators and autocrats are allowed to run roughshod in Europe, the risk rises that the United States gets pulled in directly.”
Republicans in Congress are blocking a renewal of US military assistance for Ukraine.
A final shipment from funds previously approved, worth $250 million, was announced on Thursday. Without congressional action, the future of US assistance is now in question.
The White House said that Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, spoke Friday with his Polish counterpart, Jacek Siewiera, about reports that a Russian missile passed through NATO member Poland’s airspace on its way to bombing Ukraine.
“Mr Sullivan expressed the United States’ solidarity with Poland, our close NATO ally,” the White House said.