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Feb 20, 2024, 9:00am EST
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Semafor Signals

The West is stepping up military aid to Ukraine

Insights from the Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press

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Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy awards a Ukrainian serviceman as he visits a position in a front line near Kupiansk, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine February 19, 2024. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS
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The News

Ukraine is set to receive a new round of military support from its allies as Russia’s full-scale invasion enters its third year.

Sweden approved a $683 million military aid package for Kyiv, Estonia’s prime minister called for frozen Russian assets to be seized and diverted to Ukraine, and the U.S. is working on sending new long-range weaponry to the country — though Republicans may block the efforts.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Estonian support signals European fears about US election

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Sources:  
Financial Times, The Washington Post

Europeans are concerned about former U.S. President Donald Trump’s possible return to the White House: Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has said that the West should seize all frozen Russian assets ahead of the election, signaling unease over what a second Trump presidency could mean for the region’s security. The likely Republican candidate has in recent weeks derided NATO, saying he’d let Russia “do whatever the hell it wants” to members of the military alliance who didn’t pay their fair share. Trump’s campaign has also called for a “re-evaluation” of NATO, something that could upend stability in Europe. “For the NATO countries that border Russia … the question of Trump’s commitment to the alliance would be existential,” The Washington Post noted.

War in Europe is good news for US economy

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Source:  
The Wall Street Journal

Politicians in Washington have sparred over how much funding — if any — to offer to Kyiv as the war drags on. But the security crisis has been a boon for American defense manufacturing, The Wall Street Journal reported. White House officials believe that of the $60.7 billion in funding intended for Ukraine in a defense bill worth $95 billion, 64% will make its way back to the U.S. economy by way of defense contracts. Less clear is how quickly American companies will see the effects of the increased spending: “We know that there are tens of billions in potential contracts on the table for U.S. firms based on the direct and indirect effects of the war in Ukraine, but it’s less clear how soon the companies will see those funds,” one analyst told the Journal.

US Republicans taking softer stance on Russia

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Source:  
The Associated Press

Republicans have changed their tune on Russia since Trump came to power in 2016. Trump’s own embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin, alongside Putin’s image as a model of conservative Christian values, has led Republicans to take a softer approach to Moscow than they historically have, the Associated Press reported. As a result, aid to Ukraine is being held up, with some leaders balking at the idea that the U.S. should fund foreign wars at all. “Some of it may be a bottom-up change in a key part of the Republican base,” Douglas Kriner, a political scientist at Cornell University, told the outlet, “and part of it reflects Trump’s hold on that base and his ability to sway its opinions and policy preferences in dramatic ways.”

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