Biden announces nearly $3 billion in new military aid to Ukraine

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he would send $2.98 billion in new military aid to Ukraine.

Biden said in a statement that the aid would allow Ukraine to acquire air defense systems, artillery systems and ammunition, drones and other equipment, “allowing us to continue defending ourselves for the long term.” said.

The announcement comes as Ukraine celebrates its declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

“I know this Independence Day will be bittersweet for many Ukrainians,” Biden said. , fell victim to Russian atrocities and attacks: “But six months of constant attacks only strengthened Ukrainians’ pride in themselves, their country and their 31 years of independence.”

Aid packages are provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. Officials say funding includes a small, manually-launched Puma drone, a more durable catapult-launched Scan Eagle surveillance drone, and, for the first time, a British Vampire drone system that can be launched from a ship. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

As Russia’s war against Ukraine drags on, U.S. security assistance is shifting to a longer-term campaign that will likely keep more U.S. troops in Europe in the future, U.S. officials say. Stated. Wednesday is Ukraine’s Independence Day and as of her six months before the war.

Unlike most previous packages, the new funds are primarily aimed at helping Ukraine secure its medium- to long-term defense posture, according to people familiar with the matter. Most are under the President’s reversal authority and focus on Ukraine’s more pressing arms and ammunition needs, which the Pentagon already has in stock and can be shipped in the short term. increase.

In addition to providing long-term assistance that Ukraine can use for potential future defense needs, the new package demonstrates that the United States intends to maintain that assistance regardless of the day-to-day toll of the conflict. It is intended to reassure officials, the person said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday reaffirmed the alliance’s support for the conflict-torn nation, noting the broader focus.

“Winter is coming and it will be difficult, and what we are seeing now is a war of attrition. This is a battle of wills, a battle of logistics. So we must maintain our support for Ukraine for the long term,” Stoltenberg said at a virtual conference on Crimea hosted by Ukraine.

Six months after the Russian invasion, the war slowed as both sides traded combat attacks and small advances in the east and south. Both sides have seen thousands of troops killed and wounded, just as shelling of Russian cities killed countless innocent civilians.

With a holiday celebrating Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and a day marking six months after the invasion, there are fears that Russia will step up attacks on civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days. It is

On Monday, the U.S. embassy in Ukraine and the State Department issued a new security warning to Ukraine and repeatedly called on Americans in the country to leave the country, citing the danger.

“Given Russia’s track record in Ukraine, we are concerned about the continued threat Russian attacks pose to civilians and civilian infrastructure,” he said.

Other NATO allies are also celebrating Independence Day with new aid announcements.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the country was providing more than €500 million (about $500 million) in aid, including a powerful anti-aircraft system. The aid includes rocket launchers, ammunition, anti-drone equipment, more than a dozen armored recovery vehicles, and three additional his IRIS-T long-range air defense systems, Deutsche News Agency dpa reported. .

Funding is subject to congressional approval, and some won’t be available until next year.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced an investment of $3.85 million in two projects in Ukraine through the Operations Peace and Stability program. This includes approximately $2.9 million in funding for the continued development of Ukraine’s National Police and other emergency services, and approximately $950,000 to help advise Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense.

To date, the United States has provided approximately $10.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the start of the Biden administration, including 19 weapons packages taken directly from the Pentagon’s inventory since August 2021. It is included.

U.S. defense leaders are also eyeing plans to expand the training of Ukrainian forces outside the country, as well as to those in the eastern and southern parts of Europe most threatened by Russian aggression.

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