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Joe Biden urges Congress to ‘get back in game’ and approve Ukraine aid package

President Joe Biden has told Ireland’s premier he is “strongly committed” to providing further aid to Ukraine as he urged Congress to “get back in the game” on the issue.

Mr Biden’s remarks come amid a stand-off in Congress over a proposed 90 billion dollar foreign aid package that includes 60 billion for Ukraine.

The Bill has been passed in the Senate but House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson has not yet permitted a vote on the package in the House.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar discussed the Ukraine conflict with the President during their traditional bilateral meeting in the White House ahead of St Patrick’s Day.

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President Joe Biden at a bilateral meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office at the White House (Niall Carson/PA)

Earlier this week, the White House announced it would be sending another 300 million dollars worth of weapons to help the Ukrainian military in its fight against the Russian invasion.

“We’re standing together in support of Ukraine in the face of Putin’s onslaught and the savagery with which he’s attacking Ukrainians,” Mr Biden told the Taoiseach.

“And I want to thank you, Leo, for Ireland’s unwavering assistance to Ukraine, including millions of vital humanitarian aid that you provide. Millions of dollars.

“I’m urging our Congress to do its part, get back in the game. We were able to find another 300 million dollars, but we have a 60 billion dollar package and we’re really working.”

He added: “I’m urging them, Congress, to pass bipartisan legislation now, that includes a significant amount of humanitarian aid, including to Ukraine and Gaza.”

In his remarks to the President at the opening of the meeting in the Oval Office, Mr Varadkar said: “I just really want to thank you and America for your leadership on Ukraine.

“We are very worried about the situation there and we don’t think if Putin is successful in Ukraine that he’ll stop there, and we really need your continued support and leadership in Ukraine.”

He added: “That’s a fight we’ve got to win.”

Mr Varadkar said he intended to raise the issue with Congressional leaders when he meets them later on Friday.

The Taoiseach said he would be reporting back on his discussions about Ukraine to a meeting of EU leaders next week.

Mr Biden replied: “You can tell them the President of the United States is strongly committed to making sure that we provide that aid.”

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Mr Varadkar speaks to the media after his meeting with Mr Biden at the White House (Niall Carson/PA)

After the meeting, Mr Varadkar reflected on his conversation with the President on the Ukraine conflict.

“The European Union has put a financial package in place for Ukraine for the next four years, the President’s very keen that should be done here as well, that we send a very clear message to Putin that Europe and America will stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes, that Putin will not be successful in Ukraine,” he told reporters outside the White House.

“So, I’m very keen to follow up on that with Congressional leaders now this afternoon because we want that vote to go to Congress, so that the money can be set aside for Ukraine.”