Biden says US will send more aid to Ukraine
President Biden on Friday announced another security assistance package for Ukraine totaling $150 million he said would include artillery munitions, radars and other equipment.
“Today, the United States is continuing our strong support for the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their country against Russia’s ongoing aggression,” Biden said in a statement.
Biden warned the latest round of assistance would nearly exhaust the military assistance that Congress has approved for the administration to deliver to Ukraine.
Congress in March authorized $13.6 billion in security, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. The White House had previously said that the administration had about $250 million in military assistance left.
On Friday, Biden pressed Congress to quickly approve more assistance for Ukraine. The White House has asked for $33 billion in additional security, economic and humanitarian assistance to help Ukraine fight the Russian war and address the impacts of the conflict. The administration believes that amount of assistance is needed to sustain Ukraine over the next five months.
“With today’s announcement, my Administration has nearly exhausted funding that can be used to send security assistance through drawdown authorities for Ukraine,” Biden said in the statement Friday announcing the new assistance. “For Ukraine to succeed in this next phase of war its international partners, including the U.S., must continue to demonstrate our unity and our resolve to keep the weapons and ammunition flowing to Ukraine, without interruption. Congress should quickly provide the requested funding to strengthen Ukraine on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.”
Congress is currently drafting legislation to meet the administration’s request. There is bipartisan support for providing more assistance to Ukraine, but the process of approving it may be complicated by a separate administration request for more COVID-19 pandemic assistance.
While some in the administration would like to see the COVID-19 and Ukraine funding tied together and passed in one bill, Republicans have been skeptical of the need for additional pandemic funding.
The Biden administration has sent billions in assistance, including heavy weapons, to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24. Biden last announced an assistance package on April 21 that totaled $800 million.
Ukraine, bolstered by assistance from the U.S. and its allies, repelled Russia’s effort to seize the capital of Kyiv and has delt Moscow some embarrassing losses in the more than two months since the invasion began.
The new assistance package comes days before Victory Day, the May 9 holiday on which Moscow marks the country’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. Typically, Russia celebrates the holiday with a massive military parade, but this year some have speculated that Russian President Vladimir Putin might use the day to formally declare war on Ukraine.
The White House has warned that Russia could try to annex more Ukrainian territory on May 9, which is next Monday.
Biden is scheduled to hold a call with other Group of Seven (G7) leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday.
Updated at 5:34 p.m.
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