The adoption of the document was preceded by long disputes between senators over sanctions against Russia and China.
The U.S. Senate has approved the $ 770 billion draft defense budget for 2022. The adoption of the document was preceded by a long dispute and several blockages due to amendments that related to sanctions against the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 and China.
The final version of the document refers to the allocation of four billion dollars for an initiative aimed at “containing Russia”, on increasing support for Ukraine and on taking measures to “protect against Russia’s abuse of Interpol mechanisms.” But tougher proposals were not included in the document. Perild.com tells the details.
Softer than expected
The US Senate, following the House of Representatives, on December 15 approved the country’s draft defense budget for fiscal 2022. The document provides for military spending in the amount of $ 770 billion. That’s five percent more than last fiscal year and $ 25 billion more than US President Joe Biden proposed.
The draft defense budget adopted by Congress, among other things, provides for the allocation of $ 300 million to support the armed forces of Ukraine. document… In 2021, Ukraine was allocated $ 250 million, a year earlier – $ 200 million.
$ 4 billion is earmarked for the European Defense Initiative and $ 150 million will go towards developing security cooperation with the Baltic states.
The bill provides $ 7.1 billion for the Pacific Containment Initiative and includes a statement in support of Taiwan, as well as a ban on the Department of Defense’s purchase of goods produced using forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region.
Also includes a 2.7 percent increase in military salaries and an increase in the purchases of aircraft and ships for the US Navy. The document passed by Congress will now go to US President Joe Biden for approval.
At the same time, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmitry Kuleba said on December 17 that the draft US budget provides for a total amount of assistance to Ukraine of $ 756 million. He also noted that Ukraine’s goal remains to receive one billion dollars of US support.
“The draft US budget for 2022 provides for a total amount of assistance to Ukraine of $ 756 million, in particular for strengthening security – $ 400 million. But our goal – one billion dollars of support – remains unchanged, and we are confidently moving towards it,” Kuleba said on online briefing on Friday.
He added that through the US State Department, the Pentagon, and the US Agency for International Development, the American side has allocated more than $ 460 million to support key reforms in Ukraine.
Also, this year Ukraine received from the United States four Island-type naval boats, Javelin anti-tank systems, counter-sniper, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, night vision devices, optical equipment, communications equipment, medical equipment, ammunition and small arms of various calibers.
However, a number of members of Congress consider the proposals adopted in the budget to be insufficient in the context of containing Russia. In this regard, Republican Senator Jim Risch yesterday registered a bill called “The Act Guaranteeing Ukraine’s Independence By Strengthening Its Defense”.
In it, he proposed to allocate $ 450 million to Ukraine for military aid in 2022, to toughen sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and, in the event of an aggravation of the situation around Ukraine, to declare Russia a sponsor of terrorism.
The initiative was supported by eight more Republican senators. “Since the administration (Joe Biden – ed.) Was inactive, I presented a bill that will provide immediate material support for Ukraine. We cannot sit back and wait,” Risch explained.
The House of Representatives approved its version of the bill on September 23, but the Republicans blocked the accelerated adoption of the document – first on November 29, and then on December 1. The reason for the disagreement was their proposals on Russia and China. In particular, they advocated an amendment on new sanctions against SP-2.
In addition, as the newspaper Hill wrote, the Republicans sought tough sanctions against Russia in the event of its invasion of Ukraine. Senate Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell insisted that discussing “the right way to counter Russian threats to America” and the issue of arming “US friends in Ukraine” is necessary and necessary.
In addition, as Hill wrote, during the procedure for adopting the budget, controversy was caused by an amendment banning imports from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the PRC, where, according to the West, the Uyghur genocide is taking place.
As a result, on December 7, the House of Representatives adopted a much softer version of the country’s defense budget draft. It did not include sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and Russia’s sovereign debt.
An amendment to the restrictions against the gas pipeline would oblige the US President to impose sanctions within 15 days against any organization responsible for planning the project, construction and operation of Nord Stream 2, as well as against the main shareholder.
In addition, the initiative on sanctions against 35 Russians who are among the entourage of Russian President Vladimir Putin, including Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, head of the Central Election Commission Ella Pamfilova, businessmen Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov, also failed.
Meanwhile, the United States agreed with Germany to close the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline in the event of a Russian military aggression against Ukraine. This measure was announced by the representative of the US administration in Congress, writes Reuters, citing informed sources.
At the same time, it remains unclear whether governments have agreed on the very definition of military aggression. The presidential administration in Washington recalled that Germany has undertaken obligations regarding Nord Stream 2 in the event of Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine.
In turn, Reuters quoted an unnamed European diplomat as saying that the United States told its allies that it would impose sanctions on the pipeline anyway after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And in this case, the diplomat thinks, no one wants to deal with Sevpotok-2 for fear of falling under them.
At the same time, Washington openly threatened the Kremlin with new restrictions on the gas pipeline in the event of an attack on Ukraine.
“This is a way of pressure from the West. Because if Vladimir Putin wants Russian gas to flow through this pipeline, he may not risk invading Ukraine,” said Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
Meanwhile, Germany has postponed the decision on Nord Stream 2 for at least six months – the German regulator will not certify the Russian gas pipeline until the summer of 2022.