WASHINGTON -- On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced an additional $800,000,000 in military support to Ukraine. This is after the president of Ukraine pleaded to Congress to do more to assist it against the Russian military attack.
Biden spoke at the White House and stated that the new aid package would dramatically increase military support to Ukraine. It will include 800 anti-aircraft system, 9,000 antimor systems, and 7,000 small arms such as shotguns, grenade launchers and grenade launchers.
"This could be a difficult and long battle. Biden stated that the Americans will stand firm in their support for the Ukrainian people in the face Putin's moral, unethical attacks against civilian populations. We are united in our disgust at Putin's evil onslaught. We will continue to support them in their fight for freedom, democracy, and their survival.
Biden has authorized $2 billion in additional assistance since the beginning of his presidency.
Biden didn't agree to the actions the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zieleskyy requested in his remarks to Congress Wednesday, including a no fly zone above Ukraine to deter Russian bombers who have attacked schools, hospitals, and residential buildings as well as fighter planes. These are two measures that the U.S. repeatedly rejected.
"I have a need. I must protect our skies. I need your decision, your help," Zelenskyy told Congress. "Being the leader in the world is to be the leader for peace.
Biden viewed Zelenskyy’s speech from his personal library, and thought that the Ukrainian president was passionate and powerful, according to Jen Psaki, White House press secretary.
She stated that Zelenskyy's request was not surprising to the White House given the close relationship the administration has had to Ukrainian officials. However, she said that the U.S. is still opposed to a no fly zone over Ukraine.
Psaki stated that if we were President Zelenskyy, we would ask for all the possible and continue to request it because he is watching his country and people being attacked by President Putin and his Russian military."
She said that Biden was guided primarily by U.S. national security concerns that would be compromised by the establishment of a no fly zone. She said, "It would involve us potentially shooting down Russian aircrafts -- NATO shooting down Russian airplanes -- and it is not in our interest to get into World War III."
However, Biden's comments on Putin Wednesday were more frank than in the past. Biden answered "no" when asked if he would call Russian President Vladimir Putin war criminal as he left an event at White House. Later, he returned to the White House and asked reporters for a second question. He said that he believed Putin was a war criminal.
The White House is under pressure from Congress to support Ukraine more. Several members said they were moved by Zelenskyy’s comments and pondered how to help their country without starting a war with Russia.
"It makes it feel like I want to put on my uniform and help," Sen. Joni Ernst (Republican from Iowa), who was a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, Army National Guard, and U.S. Army Reserve. "I know that we are helping in any way we can. Many of us feel helpless, I believe. There are so many things we could do and I believe we should do more. This administration needs to tell President Zelenskyy that we will send you any aircraft you require.
The White House announced Tuesday that the aid package included 100 grenade launchers and 5,000 rifles, 1000 pistols, 400 machine guns and 400 shotguns. The U.S. will also supply more than 20,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, grenade launcher/mortar rounds, and 25,000 sets body armor.
Biden stated that there would be more support in the future.
He stated that the United States and its allies and partners were fully committed to providing assistance to Ukraine and that more would be forthcoming as we source equipment we are ready to transfer.
The White House wanted to highlight the support that the administration has given to Ukraine. This included over 600 Stinger antiaircraft systems, 2,600 Javelin Anti-armor Systems, 200 grenade launchers, ammunition, 200 shotguns, and 200 machine guns. There have also been nearly 40,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition as well as more than 1,000,000 grenade mortar and artillery rounds.
Biden signed Tuesday's government funding bill. It included $13.6 billion in military, humanitarian and assistance assistance for Ukraine. This is in addition to the $1.2 billion that the U.S. has already given to Ukraine's military forces. In the last few weeks, the U.S. has provided almost $300 million in humanitarian aid.
According to two congressional officials briefed, the U.S. may also consider providing Ukraine the U.S.-made killer drones -- cutting edge guided missiles capable of accurately targeting Russian tanks and artillery positions up to miles away -- according NBC News.
The U.S. also airlifted military equipment and emergency relief supplies to the region. This included high thermal blankets, water treatment equipment, and soap.
The U.S. takes these steps as the war enters its fourth weekly phase and Russia intensifies its attack on Kyiv. Mayor Vitali Klitschko has imposed a 35-hour curfew Tuesday following Russian missile strikes that destroyed apartments and killed residents.