Republicans in the US Senate on Wednesday voted down a measure that would have provided about $60 billion in new assistance to Ukraine, holding firm on their position that their approval will require radical changes to immigration policy as part of any foreign-aid agreement.

The Senate voted along party lines, thus falling short of the nine Republican votes needed for a 60-vote passage. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) changed his vote to “nay” near the end of the tally in a procedural move that will allow the upper chamber to revisit the proposal at a later date.

US President Joe Biden had said he was ready to make a “significant compromise” with Republicans to get the aid passed, joining many Democratic senators who said they would support changes to asylum-policy in order to get the deal done.

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In his White House address to the nation, Biden said, “This cannot wait.”

“Frankly, I think it’s stunning that we’ve gotten to this point in the first place, where Republicans in Congress are willing to give Putin the greatest gift he could hope for,” Biden said, speaking in front of a portrait of the World War II-era president Franklin D. Roosevelt, AFP noted.

“If he keeps going and then he attacks a NATO ally... then we’ll have something that we don't seek and that we don't have today: American troops fighting Russian troops.”

Russian Troops Reportedly Regroup in Kharkiv Sector
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Russian Troops Reportedly Regroup in Kharkiv Sector

A Ukrainian officer said the situation in the Kharkiv sector remains difficult, though he added there have been no significant changes in frontline positions.

Meanwhile, the US State Department announced it was rolling out a $175 million tranche of pre-approved aid for Kyiv, in a package that includes HIMARS rockets, plus other missiles and ammunition.

The Pentagon had previously noted that almost $6 billion remains in approved aid to Kyiv, which the White House and Congressional Democrats warn will run out soon unless Capitol Hill takes the measure back up quickly.

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