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May 28, 2024

Vote to Resume U.S. Military Aid Is Met With Relief in Ukraine

Vote to Resume U.S. Military Aid Is Met With Relief in Ukraine



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Much-needed munitions like artillery shells could start arriving relatively quickly, but experts say it could take weeks before U.S. assistance has a direct impact on the war.

Ukrainian soldiers of the 148th Separate Artillery Brigade with a M777 howitzer at a firing position in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, in March.Credit…Nicole Tung for The New York Times

The Ukrainian lieutenant was at a firing position on the eastern front, commanding an artillery unit relying on American-provided M777 howitzers and other big guns, as U.S. lawmakers gathered in Washington to decide if his cannons would be forced to go silent for lack of ammunition.

But when the lieutenant returned to his base on Saturday night, he got the news that he and millions of Ukrainians had been praying to hear.

“I had just entered the building after a shift change when the guys informed me that the aid package for Ukraine had finally been approved by Congress,” said the lieutenant, who is identified only by his first name, Oleksandr, in line with military protocol. “We hope this aid package will reach us as soon as possible.”

The decision by American lawmakers to resume military assistance after months of costly delay was greeted with a collective sigh of relief and an outpouring of gratitude across a battered and bloodied Ukraine. It may have been late in coming, soldiers and civilians said, but American support meant more than bullets and bombs.

It offered something equally important: hope.

Immediately after the vote passed in Congress, Ukrainian citizens took to social media to offer thanks and express joy, posting American flag memes blending Ukrainian imagery with American symbols like the Statue of Liberty.

“I have tears in my eyes,” Anton Gerashchenko, the founder of the Ukrainian Institute for the Future, a research group, said in a message. “So much suffering, so much pain. So many lost friends and wonderful people in these horrible years of war. Now there is hope to save more lives of those who are still alive.”

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