Biden signs $40 billion for Ukraine aid on Asia trip | Economic news

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By AAMER MADHANI and CHRIS MEGERIAN, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Biden on Saturday signed legislation to support Ukraine with an additional US$40 billion in aid as the Russian invasion nears its fourth month.

The legislation, which was passed by Congress with bipartisan support, reinforces US commitment to Ukraine at a time of uncertainty about the future of the war. Ukraine has successfully defended kyiv and Russia has refocused its offensive on the east of the country, but US officials warn of the potential for a protracted conflict.

The funding is intended to support Ukraine until September, and it dwarfs an earlier emergency measure that provided $13.6 billion.

The new legislation will provide $20 billion in military assistance, ensuring a steady flow of advanced weapons that have been used to hold back Russian advances. There is also $8 billion in general economic support, $5 billion to address global food shortages that could result from the collapse of Ukrainian agriculture, and more than $1 billion to help refugees.

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Biden signed the measure under unusual circumstances. Because he is in the middle of a trip to Asia, a US official brought the bill on a commercial flight to Seoul for the president to sign, according to a White House official.

The logistics reflect a sense of urgency around continued U.S. support for Ukraine, but also the overlapping international challenges Biden faces. Even as he tries to reorient American foreign policy to confront China, he continues to direct resources into the biggest conflict in Europe since World War II.

Biden also signed an unrelated measure, aimed at increasing access to formula milk at a time when supplies remain tight in the United States. The legislation will allow government benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children – better known as WIC – to be used to purchase more types of infant formula.

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