Graham calls for interest-free loans to Ukraine: ‘New way of doing business’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday that the U.S. should fund Ukraine aid via interest-free loans, opening the door to GOP support to assist the country’s defense against Russian invasion.

Graham visited Ukraine Monday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I told the president, I am all in for helping Ukraine, but we have to do it in a form of a loan, no interest, waivable if necessary — for all of our allies,” he said at a press conference Tuesday from Kyiv. “This is going to be a new way of doing business. I think it will get more public support back home.”

The senator is among the Republican legislators who voted against a Ukraine aid bill that would have sent $60 billion to the country, alongside other foreign spending, last month.

GOP Senators first floated the idea of using frozen Russian assets in U.S. and European banks to pay for Ukraine aid last month in discussions with former President Trump. Graham doubled down on the idea Tuesday.

“I’ve learned that there’s $380 billion of Russian sovereign wealth assets frozen, $200 billion are in Belgium, and we need to get that money to help Ukraine and help ourselves,” he said.

Trump also endorsed the loan idea last month. He said no funds “in the form of foreign aid should be given to any country unless it is done as a loan.”

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) signaled last week that the House version of Ukraine aid would be quite different from the Senate version that was proposed last month. He said that he was also open to either a loan or lend-lease program for military aid.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a candidate to replace Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as GOP leader next year, similarly backed the idea of using frozen Russian assets to pay back an American loan.

“It would be justice to make the Russians to pay for Ukraine, pay the United States and allies for arming Ukraine,” the Texas senator said.

Cornyn added that he’s “pretty optimistic” about the House sending a Ukraine aid package to the Senate.

“I’ve heard the Speaker now say ‘We’re not going to leave Ukraine empty-handed,’ or words to that effect,” he added.

Ukrainian leaders have continuously lobbied American politicians for more aid, arguing that dwindling supplies and ammunition are making it extremely difficult to hold back Russian advances.

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