- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 28, 2022

President Biden will ask Congress on Thursday for $33 billion in new funding to support Ukraine as it fights off a renewed Russian assault, while simultaneously pushing a plan to make it easier to seize and sell the assets of Russian oligarchs.

A senior administration official said the funds will ensure Ukraine has the weapons it needs to fight its Russian attackers as well as replenish the U.S.’s own stockpile of weapons that have been rushed to Kyiv.

The amount, which is a combination of U.S. military, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, is expected to last through September, which is the end of the government’s fiscal year.

Mr. Biden is seeking $20.4 billion in additional security and military assistance for Ukraine, including additional artillery, armored vehicles, anti-armor and anti-air capabilities. The funds will also cover the costs of advanced air defense systems, boost Ukraine’s cyber capabilities, clear landmines and other explosive devices, and address biological, radiological and nuclear material hazards.

Another $8.5 billion in economic aid will go directly to the government of Ukraine to provide basic services, including health care and infrastructure projects, as well as to counter Russian disinformation.

Roughly $3 billion in humanitarian assistance would target food security by addressing wheat, flour and other shortages. It will also provide Ukraine with blankets, emergency medical supplies, job training, and mental health services.

An additional $500 million in food production aid will also be used to support the production of food crops in the U.S. that are in short supply because of the war in Ukraine.

The president will also seek a small amount of funding under the Defense Production Act to produce materials that are in short supply domestically. Those items range from Javelin anti-tank missiles to automobiles.

It is estimated that the U.S.’s Javelin missile supply has dropped 33% since the Ukraine invasion.

Mr. Biden will also push a package of legislative proposals that would streamline the process of seizing property from Russian oligarchs. The proposals would also make it a crime for a person to “knowingly or intentionally possess proceeds directly obtained from corrupt dealings with the Russian government.”

The president is seeking to double the statute of limitations for foreign money laundering offenses to 10 years and expand the definition of “racketeering” under U.S. law to include efforts to evade sanctions.

Mr. Biden will also ask Congress to allow the federal government to use the proceeds from selling the seized assets from Russian oligarchs to help Ukraine. Lawmakers from both parties and Attorney General Merrick Garland have all endorsed the measure.

So far, the European Union has frozen over $30 billion in assets, including nearly $7 billion in boats, helicopters, real estate and artwork, according to a White House fact sheet.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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