Biden unveils $800 million in new military aid to Ukraine, asking Congress for more

US President Joe Biden is flanked by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley as he meets with military leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, United States, April 20, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON, April 21 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday pledged $800 million in additional weaponry for Ukraine and said he would ask Congress for more money to help build support for the Ukrainian army as it faces a new Russian attack on its eastern territory. flank.

Addressing Americans from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Biden pledged to send heavy artillery, dozens of howitzers and 144,000 rounds, as well as tactical drones, as he called on Congress to additional funding to provide further assistance to Kyiv.

Biden also announced $500 million in direct economic aid to the Ukrainian government as it fights to save the lives of those besieged by Russian forces.

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“We are now in a critical window of time where they will set the stage for the next phase of this war, Biden said. The United States and its allies are “moving as quickly as possible” to provide Ukraine with the equipment and weapons it needs.

Biden said the new aid will spend most of the remaining funds available for that purpose and he will apply to Congress for additional funding next week. He said the amount was under discussion.

“It’s decided now. I ask the Ministry of Defense to prepare a proposal,” he said.

Biden spoke after one-on-one talks with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who is in Washington for various meetings.

The president announced his intention to bar Russian-affiliated ships from docking in US ports, as Reuters previously reported, further increasing pressure on Moscow. Read more

The new weapons package is the same size as an $800 million package announced last week

Biden said the new weapons are needed as Ukraine fights a major Russian offensive in the east, where the flatter terrain requires a different set of weapons.

On Wednesday, he summoned US military leaders to an annual White House gathering that has taken on particular significance as the war enters a risky new phase. Read more

Russia said it had entered a new stage of its operation and was methodically seeking to “liberate” the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. Western allies predict that Russia’s campaign could last several months, hit a stalemate and test the capabilities of Ukrainian fighters on the battlefield.

Biden challenged Russian claims to control the beleaguered city of Mariupol, saying “there is no evidence that Mariupol has completely fallen.” He added that Russia “should allow humanitarian corridors to get people from this steel mill and other places (which) are buried under the rubble out.” Read more

Russia says it launched what it calls a “special military operation” on February 24 to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine. kyiv and its Western allies dismiss this as a false pretense.

US forces are not fighting in Ukraine but are indirectly engaged, arming, training and financing its forces.

US aid announced last week included artillery systems, artillery shells, armored personnel carriers and unmanned coastal defense boats, expanding the scope of equipment sent to kyiv to include new types heavy equipment. Read more

The addition of this week’s package brings total US military aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion to more than $3 billion.

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Reporting by Nandita Bose, Steve Holland, Patricia Zengerle and Idrees Ali; Editing by Robert Birsel, Chizu Nomiyama, Heather Timmons and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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