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Secret briefing on Ukraine in U.S. Senate turns into dispute - CNN

Secret briefing on Ukraine in U.S. Senate turns into dispute - CNN A briefing in the U.S. Senate turned into a controversy (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

The secret briefing on Ukraine in the Senate turned into a heated debate on the security of the U.S. borders. The dispute arose over whether to include immigration policy enhancements in the aid package for Kyiv, according to CNN.

The meeting took place after Republican senators warned that they were prepared to vote against the $106 billion package for assistance to Israel and Ukraine if it did not include significant changes to border policies.

Republican senators deemed the briefing a waste of time, asserting that the presenters did not discuss any information that was not already known or publicly available. Some Republicans even left prematurely.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer provided his account of the events, stating that the border issue flared up when Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, asked Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma to speak about the border instead of discussing Ukraine.

"He called on Lankford to give a five-minute talk about the negotiations on border," Schumer said. "Then when I brought up the fact that they could do an amendment and have the ability to get something done on border, they got stuck … they didn’t like it."

"Even one of them was disrespectful and started screaming at one of the generals and challenging him to why they didn’t go to the border," Schumer added.

CNN's source reported that the shouting senator was Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas. When asked if he was among those who were shouting, Cotton said, "I did not let Chuck Schumer get away with lying that Republicans have ‘injected border security into a debate about the supplemental bill."

Cotton also claimed that the presenters "refused to answer any questions about the crisis at the border or what we can do to solve that crisis."

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina said that tension arose in the room from the beginning because "nobody talked about the border."

Cancellation of Zelenskyy's speech

President Joe Biden requested $106 billion in aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan from Congress. Of this amount, $61.3 billion was proposed for Ukraine, and $14.3 billion for Israel.

This package is currently under consideration in Congress. However, Republicans insist on tying the aid to a review of U.S. immigration and border policies.

On December 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy unexpectedly canceled his speech at a secret briefing in the U.S. Senate. Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said that Zelenskyy canceled the speech because the situation in Ukraine is fluid due to the ongoing war.