Harris announces $1.5B aid package for Ukraine at peace summit

Vice President Kamala Harris announced a $1.5 billion aid package for Ukraine in its war against Russia at the Summit for Peace Saturday in Switzerland.

“This war remains an utter failure for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Harris, said during a meeting with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I am here in Switzerland to stand with Ukraine and the leaders from around the world in support of a just and lasting peace,” she added. “As we look forward to that peace and work toward that, the United States is committed to helping Ukraine rebuild.”

Of the new aid total, $500 million of the funding will go toward energy assistance, the White House said in its press release, as Russian strikes have continuously targeted Ukraine’s energy sector. The effort will also direct $324 million of the previously announced funds to helping the nation repair its energy infrastructure.

More than $379 million will go to humanitarian assistance from The U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department to “address urgent needs of refugees, internally displaced persons, and conflict affected communities impacted by Russia’s brutal war against the Ukrainian people,” per the release.

Humanitarian aid will include food assistance, health services, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene services. It will also include psychological support services and other assistance so families can restore income and meet basic needs, the White House said.

Zelensky thanked Harris for her participation in the summit and called the U.S.’s partnership “vital” in “helping to bring peace closer.”

The aid will also go to working with the State Department to assist with security, giving Ukrainian border guards and law enforcement support to continue their work “on the front lines of the war to defend Ukraine’s territory.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, the United States has sent more than $3.2 billion in humanitarian aid and nearly $1.5 billion to help Ukraine’s energy sector, the White House said.

The announcement follows a meeting between Harris and Zelensky at the summit where the vice president highlighted the United States’s “unwavering support” for Ukraine despite some Congressional hiccups in delivering aid earlier this year.

On Friday, Ukraine rejected a Russian cease-fire proposal that would require Zelensky to hand over some land to Moscow and drop its goal of becoming a NATO member.

Ukrainian officials called the plan, which Putin proposed on the eve of the summit, “absurd.” They argued that the Russian leader had no true plans for peace, but only wanted to “further aggression in Europe.”

The peace summit, hosted at the Bürgenstock Resort near Lucerne, Switzerland, notably does not include Russia. Ukraine demanded that it did not want Russia involved in the conference and the Swiss agreed. However, they said Russia must be involved at some point if peace were to truly be achieved.

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