Hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an impassioned plea to Congress for more help defending his country, President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced $800 million in new assistance for the war-torn nation.
Ukraine will receive 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, 9,000 anti-armor systems, 7,000 small arms like machine guns and shotguns, 100 drones, and 20 million rounds to help combat Russian forces, according to a White House fact sheet.
In his speech to members of Congress, Zelensky reiterated his request for the U.S. to back a no-fly zone, yet this was not agreed to, as the Biden administration and the Pentagon have opposed measures that could lead to a direct war with Russia. Still, Biden called Zelensky’s remarks “convincing and significant.”
“He speaks for people who have shown remarkable courage and strength in the face of brutal aggression — courage and strength that’s inspired not only Ukrainians but the entire world,” Biden said. “Putin is inflicting appalling, appalling devastation and harm on Ukraine — bombing apartment buildings, maternity wards, hospitals. I mean, it’s — it’s Godawful.”
Happening Now: President Biden delivers remarks announcing new assistance the United States is providing to Ukraine. https://t.co/RiDA268Qmv
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 16, 2022
Two hundred million dollars in aid to Ukraine was authorized over the weekend, meaning the Biden administration has committed $1 billion in aid to the country in the past week.
“This could be a long and difficult battle, but the American people will be steadfast in our support of the people of Ukraine in the face of Putin’s immoral, unethical attacks on civilian populations,” Biden said. “We are united in our abhorrence of Putin’s depraved onslaught, and we are going to continue to have their backs as they fight for freedom, their democracy, their very survival — and we are going to give Ukraine the arms to fight and defend themselves through all the difficult days ahead.”
In January, the U.S. sent a reported 90 tons of military equipment to Ukraine, and in late February — shortly after the Russian attack — Biden authorized $350 million in military aid, a Defense Department press release stated. The U.S. has also imposed severe economic sanctions on Russia, last week banning imports of Russian oil, natural gas, and coal.