US President Joe Biden announced Thursday a new package of $800 million in military aid for Ukraine, saying it would help Kyiv in the fight against Russian forces in the Donbas region.
According to the Pentagon, the latest round of US assistance will include 72 155mm howitzers, 72 armored vehicles to tow them, 144,000 rounds of ammunition, and more than 120 “Phoenix Ghost” tactical drones developed specifically for Ukraine’s needs by the US Air Force.
Biden said the new package was designed to assist Ukraine’s forces in dealing with the growing Russian offensive in the country’s east, which he described as a different kind of battle than the one in the north around Kyiv, where Ukrainian forces successfully repelled the Russian invasion in the first six weeks of the war.
“Right now, we’re in a critical window where they’re going to set the stage for the next phase of this war.” And the United States, along with our allies and partners, is moving as quickly as possible to continue to provide Ukraine’s forces with the weapons they require to defend their country,” Trump said.
Biden also announced that Russian-affiliated ships would be barred from entering US ports, and that the US Treasury would provide a fresh $500 million to Ukraine’s government to cover salaries, pensions, and other expenses.
He claimed that the US and its allies’ solidarity in support of Ukraine is sending Russian President Vladimir Putin a “unmistakable message.”
“He will never be able to dominate and occupy the entirety of Ukraine.” “That will not happen,” Biden stated emphatically.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, who has pushed for more and heavier weapons, expressed gratitude for Biden’s announcement in a tweet.
“Today, more than ever, this assistance is required!” It saves the lives of our democracy and freedom fighters and brings us closer to peace in Ukraine,” he said.
Biden promised that US military aid to Kyiv would not be cut off, and that he was preparing to ask Congress for more money “to keep weapons and ammunition flowing uninterrupted.”
He urged allies to keep up their support.
“We have the capability to do this for an extended period of time.” The question is whether “we will maintain the international community’s support to keep the pressure on Putin” and continue to impose tough sanctions on Russia, he said.
“The most important thing is to keep the team together,” he said.
The new package comes after the White House announced $800 million in military aid last week, bringing the total amount of arms and supplies the US has provided to Ukraine’s forces to $4 billion since the Biden administration began in January 2021.
Ukraine has also received weapons and military supplies from a number of European allies.
The $500 million announced by the Treasury Department more than doubles the amount of direct US economic aid to Kyiv since Russian forces invaded the country. The money, according to Biden, will be used to help the government stabilize the economy, support devastated Ukrainian communities, and pay government employees to keep working.
Biden commented on the war’s progress, saying it was unclear whether Russia had taken control of Mariupol, the southern port city that has been devastated by a Russian offensive that has lasted weeks.
Even as an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers remain inside a massive Mariupol steel plant, sheltering in a network of underground tunnels, Putin claimed the “liberation” of the razed Ukrainian city earlier Thursday.
“Whether he controls Mariupol is debatable,” Biden said. “He should permit humanitarian corridors to allow people to flee.”
“There is no evidence yet that Mariupol has completely fallen.”
Biden’s announcement of a ban on Russian ships entering US ports followed a similar ban imposed by European allies earlier this year.
It would apply to any vessel flying the Russian flag, as well as vessels owned or operated by Russian interests, he said.
Meanwhile, the government provided more details on the previously announced decision to accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, stating that they will need US sponsors and should apply for visas in Europe rather than crossing the US border.