By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KYIV/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – As battles raged, the U.S. Senate approved nearly $40 billion in aid for Ukraine, sending the bill to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign.
Washington also raced to keep military assistance flowing nearly three months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Additionally, the Group of Seven (G7) of leading economies agreed on Thursday to provide Ukraine with $18.4 billion to pay its bills.
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the funds would speed up Kyiv’s victory over Russia, adding they were just as important as “the weapons you provide.”
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters at the G7 finance leaders’ meeting in Germany: “The message was, ‘We stand behind Ukraine. We’re going to pull together with the resources that they need to get through this.”
Earlier on Thursday, Shmyhal had written on the social networking site Twitter: “Support of partners will speed up our victory… Despite Russia’s efforts to destroy our economy, together we will win!”
Further pledges of weapons also came on Thursday, as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he authorized $100 million in additional U.S. arms, equipment, and supplies for Ukraine.
The past week has seen Russia secure its most significant victory since the invasion began, with Kyiv announcing it had ordered its garrison in a steelworks in Mariupol to stand down after a nearly three-month siege of the city.
Amid the ongoing Russian onslaught, Sweden and Finland have the “full, total, and complete backing” of the U.S. in their decision to apply for NATO membership, President Joe Biden said.
Concerned about the clashes in Ukraine, both Nordic nations applied to join the military alliance earlier this week.
Though the war is still ongoing, the first war crimes trial related to the fighting was underway Thursday.
At issue was 62-year-old unarmed civilian Oleksandr Shelipov, shot dead on a village street outside his Ukrainian home.
Three months later, the captured Russian soldier accused of killing him is in Kyiv being tried for a war crime.
Standing up in court to confront the 21-year-old defendant on Thursday was Kateryna Shelipova, the man’s widow. Did he repent his crime, she asked?
The Russian tank commander, Vadim Shishimarin, replied that he admitted his guilt and asked for her forgiveness. “But I understand you won’t be able to forgive me,” he added.
Kateryna Shelipova hadn’t finished. “Tell me, please, why did you [Russians] come here? To protect us?” she asked, citing Vladimir Putin’s justification for the invasion of Ukraine.
“Protect us from whom? Did you protect me from my husband, whom you killed?”
The soldier had no answer to that, trial observers noticed.
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