Biden announces new $800M military aid package for Ukraine
Apr 22, 2022 - 01:24 AM
WASHINGTON (AA) – US President Joe Biden Thursday a second $800 million military aid package for Ukraine in as many weeks as Kyiv’s forces brace for a looming Russian offensive.
The package announced after Bidenhad a closed-door meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at the White House, includes weaponry the US said will be integral in defending against Russia’s assault on eastern Ukraine.
Dozens of Howitzer artillery weapons, 144,000 rounds of associated ammunition, and tactical drones are part of the package. It will complement the thousands of anti-armor and anti-air munitions already sent to bolster Ukraine’s stocks.
The US has sent 10 anti-tank weapons for every Russian tank currently in Ukraine,Bidensaid, maintaining Washington will continue to share “significant, timely” intelligence with Kyiv.
The direct US aid, as well as efforts to facilitate international military shipments, are “a significant reason why Ukraine is able to stop Russia from taking over their country thus far.”
“Now we have to accelerate that assistance package to help prepare Ukraine for Russia’s offensive that’s going to be more limited in terms of geography, but not in terms of brutality,” saidBiden.
The president said with the latest announcement, the US has nearly exhausted its existing authorities from Congress to arm Ukraine, and he would be sending lawmakers an additional budget request next week to ensure the flow of weaponry continues flowing “without interruption.”
On the economic side, theBidenadministration is providing Ukraine with an additional $500 million in financial assistance, bringing total economic assistance in the past two months alone to $1 billion.
The US is also beginning a new immigration program for Ukrainian refugees to expedite their processing if they have a sponsor, such as a family member, or a non-governmental organization.
“This program will be fast, it will be streamlined and will ensure the United States honors its commitment to the people of Ukraine who need not go through our southern border,” he said.
The president further announced a ban on Russian ships from docking in US ports
“That means no ship, no ship that sails under the Russian flag or that is owned or operated by Russian interests will be allowed to dock in the United States port or access our shores. None,” he said. ” It’s yet another critical step we’re taking in concert with our partners.”
At least 2,224 civilians have been killed and 2,897 injured in Ukraine so far after Russian began its war on Feb 24, according to UN estimates, with the true figure believed to be much higher.
More than 5 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries, with over 7 million more internally displaced, said the UN refugee agency.
Earlier Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his forces had taken full control of the strategic Ukrainian port city of Mariupol even as Kyiv’s forces and civilians remain holed up at a steel mill.
thighBidencast doubt on Russia’s claims, saying they are “questionable.”
“One thing for sure we know about Mariupol, he should allow humanitarian corridors to let people on that steel mill, and other places that are buried under rubble, to get out,”Bidensaid of Putin. “There is no evidence yet that Mariupol has completely fallen.”