Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, criticized the Biden administration on Saturday for funding “both sides” of the Russia-Ukraine war.
“The Biden administration is effectively funding both sides of this war. Why? Well, they flooded billions of dollars into Ukraine and President [Volodymyr] Zelensky. Some of it has gone to weapons being used to fight the war,” Cruz said during an interview on The Ben Ferguson Show.
The State Department announced earlier this month that the United States will be sending an additional $3.75 billion in military assistance to Ukraine, which includes 50 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles. This brings the overall security assistance by the U.S. to Ukraine to approximately $27.2 billion since the Russian invasion began last February.
“Much of it [funding] has gone into the government including in places in the government where corruption is endemic and a serious problem but at the same time, they’ve also lifted sanctions on Iran, and have flowed billions of dollars into Iran and Iran has turned around and it’s sending drones to Russia to use to kill Ukrainians,” Cruz said.
The Republican senator was referring to some of the sanctions that the U.S. lifted in an effort to revive talks with Iran about the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA), which former President Donald Trump ditched in 2018. The deal would require Iran to limit the development of its nuclear program in return for the U.S. to lift sanctions against the country.
“One component of what Joe Biden has done with Iran, we had in place under Trump, sanctions on their oil sales. I pressed the Trump administration to impose those sanctions. Those sanctions had effectively shut down oil sales for Iran. Joe Biden has essentially refused to enforce those sanctions. So today, the Ayatollah [ Ali Hosseini Khamenei’s regime] is selling over a million barrels a day of oil because Joe Biden is letting him,” Cruz said during his Saturday interview.
No progress has been made on reviving talks about the 2015 deal at the moment and that has been the case for a while, which prompted the Biden administration to announce a new round of sanctions against Iran in September. This includes imposing financial penalties on a “regular basis” to “severely” limit Iranian oil and petrochemical exports, Al Jazeera previously reported.
Those sanctions were meant to target several companies based in China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and India that the U.S. believes are involved in the sale of Iranian oil and petrochemicals.
Russia has been using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones to fight in Ukraine in its ongoing war. The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are 11 feet long, reaching a top speed of around 115 miles per hour. They are known for having a low buzzing sound and are designed to carry a warhead that explodes or shatters when it reaches its target.
However, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said earlier this month that Russia is running out of the drones. Russian forces have used up 88 percent of their cache of Shahed drones, which means that its military would have just 90 Iranian-made UAVs left at their disposal, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a Twitter post this month.
Newsweek reached out to the White House and Senator Ted Cruz for comment.