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Biden announces nearly $3 billion in arms aid to Ukraine

#Biden #announces #billion #arms #aid #Ukraine

President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced nearly $3 billion in military aid to Kyiv – the largest US package ever – to mark Ukraine’s Independence Day, six months after Russia invaded the country.

In a statement, Biden signaled the determination of Washington’s commitment to Ukraine’s fight, saying the $2.98 billion in arms and other equipment was aimed at “ensuring it can continue to defend itself over the long term.”

The new funds will be used for air defense systems, artillery and the high-demand munitions for those systems, as well as radars and systems to counter Russian drones, Biden said.

Biden congratulated Ukraine on its independence, declared by the Soviet Union in 1991, and said the US is “obliged to support the Ukrainian people as they continue the fight to defend their sovereignty.”

“Today is not just a celebration of the past, but an overwhelming affirmation that Ukraine proudly remains – and will remain – a sovereign and independent nation.”

Biden also hailed Ukraine’s resistance to the invasion that President Vladimir Putin launched on February 24 after years of unsuccessful attempts to regain Russian control of a west-facing country that relies heavily on NATO and NATO membership European Union urged.

Thousands of soldiers on both sides and thousands of civilians have died in the biggest battles in Europe since World War II. Despite Russian expectations of a quick victory, Ukrainian forces, trained and armed by Western allies, have pushed the invaders back into part of territory to the east and south of the country.

“Six months of relentless attacks have only increased Ukrainians’ pride in themselves, in their country and in their thirty-one years of independence,” Biden said.

“Today and every day we stand with the Ukrainian people.”

Despite rumors of a Ukrainian counter-offensive attempting to retake much of the occupied territory in the south, the battle lines remain largely frozen, pointing to a potentially protracted test of resolve for both sides and also for Ukraine’s western backers.

The funds released by Biden on Wednesday can be used for immediate wartime expenses, including acquisitions of supplies and weapons, and are separate from the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), under which Biden could order the transfer of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine’s armed forces under existing ones US military stocks.

On Friday, the Pentagon announced the latest package under the PDA: $775 million worth of various missiles, artillery, armor-piercing weapons and ammunition, and a fleet of armed demining vehicles.

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