Congress has passed a bill that would allow President Biden to use a World War II-era law to quickly lend arms to Ukraine.
The bill’s passage came just hours after President Biden asked Congress in a speech for $33 billion more in aid to Ukraine. The legislation invokes an eight-decade old law originally created to help British forces battle Germany, allowing for a more speedy delivery of arms by eliminating a variety of procedural hurdles. President Biden’s request is more than twice the size of a previously approved package, indicating that the U.S. is committed to aiding Ukraine in a sustained conflict. “Passage of that act enabled Great Britain and Winston Churchill to keep fighting and to survive the fascist Nazi bombardment until the United States could enter the war,” said Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland. “President Zelensky has said that Ukraine needs weapons to sustain themselves, and President Biden has answered that call.”
Emmanuel Macron has been re-elected as France’s president.
The 44 year-old centrist defeated nationalist and populist Marine Le Pen, becoming the only sitting president with a governing majority to have been reelected by direct universal suffrage since the Fifth Republic was established by Charles de Gaulle. Macron’s win signified a victory for centrist, liberal, pro-European politics against nationalism, populism and xenophobia. Macron will again face hostile opposition when parliamentary elections are held in June.
Russia has cut off gas to Poland and Bulgaria, in what has become the country’s toughest response yet to European sanctions.
In late March, Russia demanded that “unfriendly” countries pay for their next gas deliveries in roubles, or be cut off. This week, Gazprom, a Russian state-owned energy giant, followed through on the threat and stopped sending gas to Bulgaria and Poland after they missed the deadlines for paying in roubles. European gas prices have increased following Russia’s decision.
The E.U. is nearing a ban on Russian oil, overcoming deep divisions among members who depend on Russia for energy.
An oil embargo was considered unlikely when the war began, as it will almost certainly be difficult and costly to Europe. As leaders have watched in horror as Russia commits war crimes and other atrocities, however, the West’s resolve has grown. E.U. ambassadors are expected to finalize a proposal for a phased embargo of Russian oil at the beginning of next week, along with other new sanctions targeting Russian banks and high-profile Russians.