Biden says US will send $800 million in more security aid to Ukraine
President Biden said Thursday that the U.S. plans to send an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine, including advanced air defense systems and other “offensive” weapons.
Biden disclosed the plans during a news conference following a NATO summit in Madrid, where he declared the alliance united in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“This summit was about strengthening our alliance, meeting the challenges of our world as it is today and the threats we’re going to face in the future,” Biden said in opening remarks at the press conference.
Biden said the new assistance package would also include more counter-battery radars, artillery and ammunition, including ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) that the U.S. has recently supplied to the Ukrainians. Biden also predicted that other countries would send HIMARS to Ukraine.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said earlier this week that the U.S. would be sending medium- and long-range air defense systems to Ukraine, though he declined to specify the particular system.
Congress has authorized roughly $40 billion in security, economic and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine that the administration can draw from. Biden indicated that a formal announcement of the new tranche of $800 million in assistance will be made in the coming days.
On Thursday, Biden took a victory lap of sorts following the summit, saying he told Russian President Vladimir Putin before he launched a military invasion of Ukraine that doing so would strengthen NATO.
“Putin thought he could break the transatlantic alliance. He tried to weaken us. He expected our resolve to fracture. But he’s getting exactly what he did not want,” Biden said.
Biden pointed in particular to the decision by Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, membership bids that were advanced at the summit after Turkey dropped its objections.
“He wanted the Finland-ization of NATO. He got the NATO-ization of Finland,” Biden said of Putin.
Biden also underscored the U.S. plans to enhance its forces in Europe and commitments by other NATO members, like Germany, to bolster defense spending to meet the alliance’s target of 2 percent of gross domestic product.
Biden’s overseas trip, his fourth to Europe as president, also included an earlier stop at a Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Germany during which the G-7 leaders pledged to support Ukraine for the long haul.
Asked Thursday whether Americans should be prepared for the U.S. to support Ukraine indefinitely, Biden answered: “We are going to support Ukraine as it takes.”
“As long as it takes to in fact make sure that they are not defeated by … Russia,” Biden said.
—Updated at 11:58 a.m.