Monday Briefing: U.S. Poised to Resume Aid to Ukraine

The House voted on Saturday in favor of $95 billion in long-stalled foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, resoundingly approving the funds over months of objections from Republicans on the far right. The Senate is expected to pass the legislation as early as tomorrow, and it is almost certain to become law.

As part of the package, the House also advanced a bill that would force the Chinese company ByteDance, parent of TikTok, to either sell the app or risk a nationwide ban in the U.S.

In Ukraine, the vote was met with relief as troops are swiftly running out of weapons and munitions. The Pentagon has said it could resume sending weapons to Ukraine within days.

“I really do believe the intel,” said Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, who marshaled bipartisan support to pass the bill. “I think that Vladimir Putin would continue to march through Europe if he were allowed.”

Details: The legislation includes $60 billion for Kyiv; $26 billion for Israel and humanitarian aid for civilians in conflict zones, including Gaza; and $8 billion for the Indo-Pacific region.

Iran appears to have chosen de-escalation after Israel’s retaliatory attack on Friday. Iranian officials and state news media downplayed the attack.

Israel also seems to have tried to skirt a broader war. Its strike — a response to Iran’s volley, which itself was a reply to Israel’s deadly strike on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus, Syria — was notably limited. It damaged an air defense system at a military base near Isfahan, in central Iran.

“It remains to be seen whether this latest tit-for-tat will create some sort of deterrence for both sides,” Farnaz Fassihi, our U.N. bureau chief, who covers the shadow war, told my colleague Daniel E. Slotnik. “Neither side really seems to want to go into an all-out war with each other.”

Iran’s concerns: Inflation is running at an annual rate of 32 percent, a restive population has consistently challenged the government’s legitimacy and even supporters of the hijab rule have criticized its enforcement.

After years of conflict in Myanmar, rebels have scored victories over the military junta, potentially turning the tide of the war. If they push into the nation’s heartland, they could unseat the powerful military.

My colleague Hannah Beech embedded with one of the rebel groups on the front lines in Karenni State, where resistance forces said they held more than 90 percent of the territory. “This time is different,” she explains in this short video.

For more: Why has this war — which could break apart a country of 55 million people — been so internationally ignored? Here is some background and context.

Rahul Gandhi, the scion of an Indian political dynasty, is trying to unseat the prime minister, Narendra Modi. He traveled across the country to try to pull his once-dominant party, the Indian National Congress, out of the political wilderness.

The Australia Letter: The wife and daughter of our Sydney bureau chief had been shopping just minutes before the recent mall stabbings. “Sometimes the news — and the worst news of all, involving death and tragedy — hits as close to home for us as it does for those we write about,” Damien Cave writes.

On Saturday, my colleagues published a shocking revelation: Seven months before the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics, 23 of China’s best swimmers tested positive for the same banned drug at a domestic meet.

Chinese officials secretly cleared them of doping. The World Anti-Doping Agency, which oversees national drug-testing programs, accepted China’s theory that a mass contamination event was to blame and allowed China to keep the results secret.

Several athletes who tested positive — including nearly half of the Chinese swimming team sent to Tokyo — went on to win medals, including three golds. Many still compete for China. Some, including the two-time gold medalist Zhang Yufei, above, are expected to compete in Paris this summer.

The investigation has shaken the swimming world. An American who won silver in Tokyo said she felt her team had been “cheated.” A British gold medalist is demanding bans. The sports minister in Germany, where a documentary on the case was broadcast Sunday, demanded an investigation. And global antidoping officials are fighting bitterly.

Recap: Read takeaways from the investigation.

Bake: This moist Persian almond cake is spiced with cardamom — and good for a Seder. Here are other ideas for Passover, which starts tonight.

Read: In “New Cold Wars,” my colleague David Sanger tracks shifts in the U.S. approach to re-emerging great power competitions this century.

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