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Zelenskyy Blinken

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (L) and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) meet in Kyiv, Ukraine on September 8, 2022. (Photo: Ukrainian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Peace Groups Decry Billions More in US Military Aid as Blinken Visits Ukraine

"The White House and Congress are fueling this war with a steady stream of weapons instead of pushing for talks to end the conflict," said Medea Benjamin of CodePink.

Brett Wilkins

As the Biden administration on Thursday announced billions of dollars in additional aid for Ukraine's defense against Russian invaders, peace activists renewed calls for a diplomatic solution to the nearly seven-month war.

"We, the people, have to rise up with a demand of negotiations, not escalation."

"The White House and Congress are fueling this war with a steady stream of weapons instead of pushing for talks to end the conflict," Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace group CodePink, said in a statement. "That's why we, the people, have to rise up with a demand of negotiations, not escalation."

CodePink and other anti-war groups including Veterans for Peace, World Beyond War, and Peace Action are set to launch a global week of action for peace in Ukraine next Monday. Demonstrations are scheduled in U.S. cities including Washington, D.C., metropolitan Boston, Milwaukee, Nashville, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Pasadena.

"Rather than push for a protracted war, the White House and Congress should support a diplomatic solution along the lines of the MINSK II Peace Accord, signed by both Ukraine and Russia in 2015, to declare Ukraine a neutral non-NATO country and hold elections in the eastern region of Ukraine," CodePink said in a statement announcing the week of action.

"Instead the U.S. government has budgeted $40 billion to escalate the war with weapons, military equipment, troop training, and intelligence, with zero accountability or oversight for taxpayer dollars," the group added. "The same amount of money could have paid for 350,000 nurses or 400,000 elementary school teachers."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $2.8 billion in new military assistance to Ukraine and 17 other regional nations while on an unscheduled visit to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv Thursday.

Blinken said that "the war's terrible toll continues to mount" over six months after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion.

Decrying the "thousands of civilians killed or wounded, 13 million Ukrainian civilians forced to flee their homes, historic cities pounded to rubble, horrifying reports of ongoing atrocities, nuclear power stations put at risk, food shortages, [and] skyrocketing food prices around the world," Blinken reaffirmed that "we stand united with Ukraine."

The secretary of state said that he was authorizing a $675 million drawdown of "additional arms, munitions, and equipment from U.S. Department of Defense inventories."

This weaponry includes howitzers, artillery munitions, Humvees, armored ambulances, anti-tank systems, and more, and comes as Ukrainian military forces wage counteroffensives on multiple fronts.

"In addition," Blinken continued, "we are also notifying Congress today of our intent to make a further $2.2 billion available in long-term investments under Foreign Military Financing to bolster the security of Ukraine and 17 of its neighbors, including many of our NATO allies, as well as other regional security partners potentially at risk of future Russian aggression."

"These announcements will bring the total U.S. military assistance for Ukraine to approximately $15.2 billion since the beginning of this administration," Blinken added.

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