Here’s more about those internal political divisions facing Joe Biden over Ukraine.
Democratic senators dick durbin of Illinois and Mark Kelly of Arizona are among those urging caution in the level of assistance the president should provide, with Kelly telling local media that too much could draw the US into a direct conflict with Russia.
Both opposed transferring Polish Mig-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, and also Nato imposing a no-fly zone over the country that have been repeatedly requested by its president Volodymyr Zelenskiyincluding during his captivating address to the US Congress on Wednesday.
But the Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer of New York and senior senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are among several colleagues who openly support the proposed transfer, joining several Republicans who say the Biden administration needs to be doing more.
“I think there’s a clear distinction that avoids escalation and at the same time enables the Ukrainians to have a fair fight on the ground,” Blumenthal told a gathering of Capitol Hill reporters on Wednesday.
Biden is on a tightrope, having said no to sending the jets, and rejecting Zelenskiy’s no-fly zone appeal. But he announced an additional $800m in support to Ukraine on Wednesday, including military drones and surface-to-air missiles. The US has already committed $13.6bn in aid.
Predictability, the Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell Kentucky says the administration needs to be doing much more.
“Our own president needs to step up his game,” he said following Zelenskiy’s address to Congress, according to Insider. “We’re not doing nearly enough, quickly enough to help the Ukrainians. President Biden needs to step up his game right now, before it’s too late.”
Meanwhile, Moscow is fuming over Biden calling Russia’s president Vladimir Putin “a war criminal” for his military’s attacks on civilians.
Moscow branded Biden’s comment “unforgivable rhetoric.” Here’s a handy explainer on what constitutes a war crime, and who gets to decide who is, or isn’t, a war criminal.