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Smart Take | Congress Sends Russia a Message by Passing US Aid Package for Ukraine

April 22, 20242:10

After months of delay and debate, the US House of Representatives passed a $95 billion aid package that provides security assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The $60.8 billion allocated for Ukraine will strengthen its military defenses and offer renewed hope to beleaguered forces. William Pomeranz, Director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, comments on the significance of the aid package. He talks about the message it sends to Russia, how Ukraine is likely to use the money, the gains Russia has made during the last six months, and how the Russian government is reacting to the news.


Video Transcript

  • This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

    The passage of the supplemental aid sends a direct message to the Russian Federation. It says that the United States is now more united than ever in support of Ukraine, and will provide the necessary aid to keep Ukraine in on the battlefield and in this conflict. 

    Russia has essentially wasted the six months of US nonmilitary aid to Ukraine and hasn't achieved any major military advances. They've taken some small Ukrainian cities and villages. But there is a problem with  with Russian energy. It has been depleted in terms of its exports and essentially the Black Sea fleet is at the bottom of the Black Sea. This aid is crucial to Ukraine, but I don't think that we should demand immediate military results. Ukraine has struggled to defend its line, to defend its defenses.  I don't think that, as previously, we should not expect Ukraine to go on the offensive Ukraine will use this aid to help advance its military protections for Ukraine, to have new artillery and Patriot missiles to defend Ukraine. So this will be an important element of Ukraine's military strategy going forward. 

    The reaction from Russia has simply been what Russia has been saying for months, that we are on the verge of a major military attack agrom the United States, and that there is a possibility that Russia will have to use nuclear weapons to defend Russian sovereignty. Lavrov, the foreign minister, has been saying this for months, but we will just have to wait and see what definitive measures Russia takes in reaction to the passage of this aid.


William E. Pomeranz

William E. Pomeranz

Director, Kennan Institute

William Pomeranz, the Director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, is an expert guide to the complexities of political and economic developments in Russia, particularly through the lens of law. He leverages extensive, hands-on experience in international and Russian jurisprudence to address a wide range of legal issues, from the development of Russia’s Constitution to human rights law to foreign investment and sanctions. He is also the author of Law and the Russian State: Russia's Legal Evolution from Peter the Great to Vladimir Putin (Bloomsbury, 2018).

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Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier US center for advanced research on Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the South Caucasus, and the surrounding region though research and exchange.  Read more