CHICAGO – U.S. President Joe Biden, 80, has at least for the second time told reporters that he plans to run for re-election to remain as the nation’s 46th president while his administration continues to be the world’s top aid provider to Ukraine amid an ongoing war of genocide perpetuated by Russia.

I plan on running,” Biden told co-host Al Roker of the U.S. television “Today” show during the yearly Easter egg roll at the White House on April 10. “But we’re not prepared to announce it.”

In November, the oldest president in U.S. history told reporters he intends to run for re-election in next year’s vote that might see a repeat race with his predecessor, Donald Trump, who was before him the oldest president

After Biden’s advisers subsequently made similar statements of Biden’s plans to run for re-election, First Lady Jill Biden told the Associated Press in February that “pretty much” nothing remains except to make a formal announcement.

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Under his administration, Biden has managed to keep most of the now 31 members of the world’s most powerful defense alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO), united to support Ukraine, which is withstanding an ongoing Russian invasion already in its ninth year.

Washington has since the “premeditated, unprovoked” full-scale invasion in February 2022 provided a total of $35.1 billion in security aid to Ukraine, the  U.S. State Department stated earlier this month.

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Firefighters said that they had eliminated the fire in an area of 50 square meters.

Together with Congress, the presidential administration has provided more than $75 billion to Ukraine since then and includes humanitarian and financial support, the German-based Kiel Institute for the World Economy says.

Congressionally approved funding for Ukraine, in the previous year, accounted for only 5.6 percent of total defense funding and 2 percent of the U.S. budget, or $0.25 per day for every citizen, the Kyiv Post previously reported

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And under Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, also known as the Ramstein Group, was created to provide assistance to Kyiv and consists of all NATO member countries as well as at least 24 others.

The group’s tenth meeting of defense ministers was held remotely on March 15, during which some 150 Leopard main battle tanks were pledged, as well as an unspecified number of MiG-29 fighter jets.

At the same meeting, Denmark promised to provide the equivalent of about $1 billion “in civil, defense and economic aid,” the country’s finance ministry announced.

"Ukraine matters. It matters not to just Ukraine or to the United States, it matters to the world,"  Austin said after the meeting. "This is about the rules based international order. It's about one country's ability to wake up one day and change the borders of its neighbor and annex its neighbor's sovereign territory." 

Accountability

The largesse and quick pace of U.S. assistance has prompted a cadre of mostly Republican lawmakers in Congress to demand how the money is being is spent by Kyiv and in whose hands the materiel Washington is providing is going.

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Republican House of Representatives speaker Kevin McCarthy’s recent insistence that aid to Ukraine “can’t be a blank check” has been frequently repeated by other Republicans, some of whom still don’t recognize the legitimacy of Biden’s election and publicly repeat Kremlin narratives concerning the war.

The same Kyiv Post article published on March 14 cited Republican representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia who is known as apostle of QAnon conspiracy theories.

“Under Republicans, not another penny will go to Ukraine,” Taylor Green proclaimed in November.

Florida representative Matt Gaetz of Florida has also registered a bill called a “Ukraine Fatigue Resolution”  that seeks to end “military financial aid to Ukraine.”

On his personal website, Gaetz stated on Feb. 9 that “we must suspend all foreign aid for the War in Ukraine and demand that all combatants in this conflict reach a peace agreement immediately.”

On Feb. 28 the Pentagon said it hasn’t found evidence that U.S. taxpayer money has “been lost to corruption or diverted into the wrong hands,” the Virginia-based Public Broadcasting Service reported.

Speaking to the House Armed Services Committee, Pentagon Inspector General Robert P. Storch said his findings were preliminary and that he wouldn’t comment on investigations that aren’t complete.

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Both Washington, and Brussels, where the main European Union executive institutions are based, have stated they are installing a weapons tracking system in Ukraine.  

Ukraine affinity

As vice president for eight years under then-President Barack Obama, Biden visited Ukraine six times and joked that he had spoken to Petro Poroshenko – Ukraine’s first war-time president – more than his wife.

"It is true I've only been here four times in two years. But I think we may have logged close to 1,000 hours on the telephone. I think I tend to be more in direct conversation for longer periods of time with the president than with my wife. I think they both regret that. But it is important," Biden said at a joint briefing in Kyiv on Dec. 8, 2015, more than a year after Russia illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and invaded the Donbas region.

Under Obama, he became the president’s principal envoy in relations with Ukraine and was the first U.S. president since 2008 to visit the war-battered country on Feb. 20 when he proclaimed Washington’s “unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

His tenure as vice president wasn’t unblemished.

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Questions were raised when it was discovered that his son, Hunter Biden, was sitting on the board of an alleged corrupt Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings. Biden’s son joined the board on May 12, 2014, two weeks after the British government seized $23 million from the London bank accounts of the company owner, Mykola Zlochevsky.

Hunter was paid millions of dollars for his corporate governance position, a U.S. Senate Committee on Finance report said that was published on Sept. 23, 2020.

Hunter Biden doesn’t sit on the board anymore  having resigned in 2019.

That same year, Hunter Biden denied wrong doing but admitted to making “a mistake,” the U.S. ABC news network reported.

"Did I make a mistake? Maybe in the grand scheme of things," he said as quoted by Voice of America “But did I make a mistake based on some ethical lapse? Absolutely not."

 

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