December 08, 2023 08:15
A Russian drone attack killed one person and damaged port infrastructure in Ukraine's Odesa region, the regional governor said Thursday.
Oleh Kiper said Odesa was under attack for two hours, and that while air defenses shot down most of the Russian drones involved, some of them made it through. He identified the victim as a truck driver, and said the drone attack damaged a warehouse, elevator and trucks near the Danube River.
Ukraine's military said Russia's aerial attack involved a total of 18 drones targeting Odesa in southern Ukraine and the Khmelnytskyi region in the western part of the country. Ukrainian air defenses shot down 15 of the 18 drones, the military said.
◆ U.S. Aid
Republican lawmakers in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday blocked $110 billion in aid for Ukraine and Israel, as well as some security measures for the U.S. southern border. U.S. President Joe Biden had asked Congress for almost $106 billion to fund the wars and border needs.
The vote Wednesday was 49 votes in favor and 51 against, leaving the measure short of the 60 votes needed in order to proceed. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who supports Ukraine aid, told his party members to reject the aid package because it did not include policy changes, something lawmakers have fought over for years.
Earlier Wednesday, Biden implored Congress to approve more arms aid for Ukraine, saying that failing to pass the assistance would be the "greatest gift" the United States could hand Russian President Vladimir Putin in Putin's nearly two-year war against the neighboring country.
At the same time, the U.S. Defense Department announced new security assistance for Ukraine that is the Biden administration's 52nd allotment of equipment for Ukraine since August 2021. It contains air defense capabilities, artillery ammunition, anti-tank weapons and other equipment.
The $175 million military aid package includes guided missiles for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, anti-armor systems, and high-speed anti-radiation missiles, according to the Pentagon and State Department.
Speaking briefly at the White House, the U.S. leader said that if Putin defeats Ukraine, "it won't stop there," and Moscow would invade neighboring NATO countries the U.S. is legally bound to defend. "If NATO is attacked," Biden said, "We'll have American troops fighting Russian troops. We can't let Putin win."
With the new tranche of aid, Biden emphasized in a statement that "security assistance for Ukraine is a smart investment in our national security. It helps to prevent a larger war in the region and deter potential aggression elsewhere."
Some Republican lawmakers in both the Senate and House of Representatives say they will not approve the additional Ukraine assistance without adopting much stricter U.S.-Mexico border controls, such as blocking all illegal migration.
Biden said, "I support real solutions at the border... to fix the broken immigration system," but called for a compromise with opposition Republicans, not blanket acceptance of shutting the border, one of the demands of some Republicans.
The president said Republicans "have to decide whether they want a political solution or a real solution. This has to be a compromise."
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