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US Senate passes $95bn aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

The US Senate has passed a long-awaited $95bn package in war aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, after months of delays and contentious debate.

The bill, which includes $61bn for Ukraine, passed on an overwhelming 79-18 vote late on Tuesday, after the House had approved the package Saturday.

US President Joe Biden, who worked with congressional leaders to win support, has said he will sign the bill into law on Wednesday.

The legislation would also send $26bn in wartime assistance to Israel and humanitarian relief to citizens of Gaza, and $8bn to counter Chinese threats in Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific.

Republicans in the House majority also added a bill to the package that could ban the social media app TikTok in the US if its Chinese owners do not sell their stake within a year.

US officials said about $1bn of the aid could be on its way shortly, with the bulk following in coming weeks, the Associated Press reported.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told The Associated Press that if Congress hadn’t passed the aid, “America would have paid a price economically, politically, militarily.”

“Very few things we have done have risen to this level of historic importance,” he said.

On the Senate floor, he said the Senate was sending a message to US allies: “We will stand with you.”

Schumer and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made passage of the legislation a top priority, agreeing to tie the Ukraine and Israel aid to help ensure passage and arguing there could be dire consequences for the United States and many of its global allies if Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression is left unchecked.

They worked with House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, to overcome seemingly intractable Republican opposition to the Ukraine aid, in particular — eventually winning large majorities in both chambers.

Mr Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday the US will send air defence weaponry as soon as the legislation is passed.

“The President has assured me that the package will be approved quickly and that it will be powerful, strengthening our air defence as well as long-range and artillery capabilities,” Zelensky said in a post on X on Monday.

With agencies

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