Biden announces heavy artillery and other weapons for Ukraine

Joe Biden, President, pledged $1.3 billion Thursday to support Ukraine's strong, but increasingly difficult fight against the Russian invasion .

Biden announces heavy artillery and other weapons for Ukraine

 He also promised to work with Congress to get more money to keep guns, ammunition, and cash flowing.

Biden stated that the latest military aid will be sent to "directly to freedom's front lines."

Biden stated that Putin is betting on us losing interest. Russian President Putin is betting that Western unity will crumble... and we'll prove him wrong once again.

The package includes $800,000,000 in military assistance for heavy artillery, 144,000 rounds ammunition and drones to support the growing conflict in eastern Ukraine. This package adds to the $2.6 billion of military assistance Biden had previously approved.

A new $500,000,000 in direct economic aid to Ukraine is also available. This assistance will be used for salaries, pensions, and other government programs. This brings the total U.S. support for economic assistance to $1 billion, almost two months after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, expressed gratitude to the United States during his nightly address to Ukraine. He said that the United States provided military assistance "just what we had been waiting for".

Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine will need to rebuild hundreds of billions of US dollars, with thousands of buildings destroyed and critical infrastructure in ruins.

Biden stressed the need for the United States to support Ukraine despite warnings that Americans might be more suspicious of the war.

According to a poll released Thursday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, Americans are less interested in getting involved. 32% believe the U.S. should play a significant role in the conflict. This is slightly lower than the 40% who stated so last month, but it's still higher than 26% who stated the same in February. Additional 49% believe the U.S. should play a minor part.

Although the president announced that Russian-affiliated vessels would be prohibited from U.S. ports it seemed to be symbolic. Russian ships only bring a small amount of cargo to the U.S. and "my guess...a decent chunk was tankers transporting Russian crude oil which is already banned," Colin Grabow, a Cato Institute research fellow, said.

Biden stated that the $6.5 billion in security aid that Congress approved as part of a $13.6 million package for Ukraine may soon be "expired." This is Biden's latest announcement. Since February 24, Biden has authorized $3.4 billion in military assistance. The total Congress approved included $6.8 billion of direct economic assistance to provide aid to refugees and allies in the affected region. Federal agencies also received additional funding to enforce cyber sanctions and to protect themselves from cyber threats.

Biden stated, "Next week I'm going have to send to Congress a Supplemental Budget Request to keep weapons and ammunition deployed uninterrupted."

Congress indicated that it is open to receiving additional requests. It had been anticipating that there would be an increase in the need for assistance for the Ukrainians. The issue could be complicated by partisan disputes over immigration and pandemic spending, which could make it more difficult for the United States to resolve.

Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican from Kentucky) has indicated a willingness to consider additional aid for Ukraine over the past weeks. McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday that "I think it's important to state that we want the Ukrainians win" and was prepared to do all we can to assist them.

"We want more," Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Speaker, said to reporters at Capitol during a meeting with Denys Shmyhal, Ukraine's Prime Minister. She stated that lawmakers would be able to learn more about Biden’s latest funding request "in a day or two, to be taken up as quickly as possible." Next week.

According to a White House official, Biden has appointed retired Lt. General Terry Wolff to coordinate the assistance to Ukraine. Wolff was a National Security Council official under the Obama administration. According to a White House official, the official spoke under anonymity to discuss the yet unformally announced appointment. Wolff was recently brought to the White House National Security Council team.

Biden spoke about the new assistance and the wider situation in Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory in Mariupol, a strategic city. Putin ordered his troops to not risk further losses by storming the last pockets of resistance from Ukraine's war-famous battleground.

Biden and reporters exchanged words following his comments that Russia's claim about Mariupol was "questionable."

The Russian forces have decimated large swathes of the southeastern port city. This area has seen some of the most intense fighting in the conflict. According to Russian estimates, around 2,000 Ukrainian troops remain trapped in a sprawling steel factory, despite Russia continuing to bomb the site and issue ultimatums of surrender.

Biden wanted to emphasize to Russians the fact that more military aid for Ukraine was on its way.

Biden stated, paraphrasing Theodore Roosevelt, that sometimes we will speak softly, and that we carry a large Javelin because we're sending lots of them.

The U.S. will provide new military assistance, including 72 155mm howitzers and 144,000 artillery shells. There will also be 72 vehicles to tow the howitzers onto the battlefields and more than 121 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones. Field equipment spare parts and spare parts will also be included.

John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, stated that the drones were designed by the Air Force to meet a specific requirement of Ukrainian forces fighting for the Donbas. Aevex Aerospace in the United States produced the drones as part of a program that started before Russia invaded. Kirby stated that the Phoenix Ghost is similar in design to the armed Switchblade kamikaze helicopters that the Pentagon is already providing to Ukraine.

These 72 howitzers, in addition to the 18 that the U.S. announced last week, were transferred to Ukraine.

The decision by Biden to quadruple pledges in an arms package that was announced last week is a reflection of what is becoming a major ground battle for eastern Ukraine's contested Donbas.

In recent days, Russian artillery has been deployed in the area to support their expansion and attempt to take complete control of the Donbas. This is after they failed to seize Kyiv, Ukraine's capital. The fighting is likely to be dominated by heavy weaponry such as artillery, which has been used since 2014 to fight separatists backed by Russia in a relatively small area.

The announcements of new aid were made against the background of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings this week, which were dominated by the management of spillovers from Russia's war with Ukraine.

Biden met with Shmyhal, the Ukrainian Prime Minister, ahead of his remarks. On Thursday, the leader of Ukraine met with Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary, and Pelosi.

Yellen stated at a news conference that the U.S. economic aid and its allies "is only the start of what Ukraine will require to rebuild." She also said she would be meeting with her Western counterparts to discuss ways to help Ukraine.

She stated that she believes the two sides are united in realizing that Ukraine needs to be met.

A new program was also announced by the Biden administration on Thursday. It aims to streamline refugee applications for Ukrainiansand other fleeing fighting while they are still in Europe. As thousands of people have done, the U.S. will not routinely grant asylum to anyone who shows up at its border with Mexico.

The U.S. plans to accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, while approximately 15,000 have already arrived through Mexico.

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