Biden announces the deployment of heavy artillery and other weaponry to Ukraine

President Joe Biden announced an additional $1.3 billion in new weaponry and economic aid for Ukraine on Thursday, promising to seek much more from Congress to keep the guns, ammo, and cash flowing.

Biden stated that the fresh military help will be provided “straight to the front lines of independence.” “Putin expects us to lose interest,” Biden remarked. “Western solidarity will shatter,” the Russian president predicts, “and once again, we’ll prove him wrong.”

For the increasing fight in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, the new package includes $800 million in military aid for much-needed heavy artillery, 144,000 rounds of ammunition, and drones. It builds on Biden’s prior approval of $2.6 billion in military support.

A new $500 million in direct economic assistance to Ukraine has been approved for government wages, pensions, and other initiatives. Since Russia’s incursion began about two months ago, the US has provided $1 billion in economic assistance.

Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, expressed gratitude but stated that his country requires more more — up to $7 billion per month to compensate for economic losses as well as weaponry and money for the ongoing conflict.

“Hundreds of billions of dollars” will be needed to replace tens of thousands of buildings and vital infrastructure, Zelenskyy said, virtually addressing the World Bank gathering in Washington.

The president also stated that Russian-affiliated ships would be prohibited from entering American ports, though this looked to be primarily symbolic. Russian ships deliver only a small portion of the cargo unloaded in the United States, and “My hypothesis is that a significant portion of that was tankers bringing Russian oil, which is now prohibited,” said Colin Grabow, a Cato Institute research fellow who studies trade.

Overall, Biden stated that the $6.5 billion in security funding agreed by Congress last month as part of a $13.6 billion package for Ukraine may be “exhausted” soon.” Since February 24, Biden has approved nearly $3.4 billion in military aid, according to the latest release. In addition, Congress appropriated approximately $6.8 billion in direct economic assistance to care for refugees and provide economic assistance to allies in the region affected by the war — as well as additional funding for federal agencies to enforce economic sanctions against Russia and protect against cyber threats.

“I’m going to have to present a supplemental budget request to Congress next week to maintain weapons and ammunition deployed without interruption,” Biden warned.

Congress has indicated that it is open to such requests and has anticipated that the Ukrainians will require additional assistance. However, the subject might become entangled with party battles over epidemic spending and immigration, making the path more difficult.

Hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory in the vital city of Mariupol, Biden spoke on the increased support and the situation in Ukraine in general. Putin, on the other hand, has instructed his soldiers not to risk further casualties by storming the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the war’s most famous battleground. 

Biden to make it obvious to Russians that Ukraine will receive a lot more military aid

Biden wanted to make it obvious to Russians that Ukraine will receive a lot more military aid. “Sometimes we’ll speak softly and carry a giant Javelin because we’re sending a lot of those,” Biden added, referring to an anti-tank missile system and echoing Theodore Roosevelt.

72 155mm howitzers, 1,44,000 artillery rounds, 72 trucks to tow the howitzers onto battlefields, over 121 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones, as well as field equipment and replacement parts, will be part of the latest US military support.

The drones were designed by the Air Force in response to Ukrainian requests and manufactured by a US business, Aevex Aerospace, according to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, but he would not clarify whether the programme began before Russia began its invasion on February 24. The Phoenix Ghost, according to Kirby, is comparable to the armed Switchblade kamikaze drones that the Pentagon has already sent to Ukraine.

The 72 howitzers are in addition to the 18 that the US confirmed last week will be sent to Ukraine. Biden’s decision to increase the quantity of arms provided in a recent armaments package reflects what is building up to be a massive ground fight in eastern Ukraine’s contested Donbas region.

After retreating from a failed attempt to capture Kyiv, the capital, the Russians have been deploying additional weaponry there in recent days in order to expand their offensive and seek to gain full control of the Donbas. Artillery and other heavy weapons are expected to play a crucial role in the conflict in the relatively limited territory where Ukrainian and Russian-backed separatists have been fighting since 2014.

The fresh aid offers came as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank held meetings this week focused on how to deal with the fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine. Biden spoke with Ukrainian Prime Minister Shmyhal before of his remarks. On Thursday, the Ukrainian president met with both Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Ukraine’s financial ministry officials have estimated that they will need $5 billion in international assistance per month in the coming months to help cover essential government services and keep the country’s economy going, said Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, at a news conference on Wednesday.

Biden spoke with Ukrainian Prime Minister Shmyhal before making his official statements. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko also met with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

At a press conference, Yellen stated that the economic aid provided by the US and its partners “is simply the beginning of what Ukraine will require to reconstruct.” She also stated that she will be meeting with her Western counterparts this week to discuss ways to help Ukraine even more. “I think we’re all in agreement that we need to figure out how to address Ukraine’s requirements,” she said.

On Thursday, the Biden administration unveiled a new initiative aimed at expediting refugee applications for Ukrainians and others escaping the violence in Europe. The United States will no longer routinely give access to persons requesting asylum at the US-Mexico border, as thousands have done.

The United States expects to accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, and some 15,000 have already arrived, largely via Mexico.

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