US President Joseph Biden said his country would help Ukraine with nearly US$ 3 billion in military aid after warning its citizens to flee the country where Russian attacks on civilians were reported to be imminent.
Biden made the announcement Wednesday as Ukraine was celebrating another anniversary of the 1991 Declaration of Independence from the Soviet Union.
“I know this independence day is bittersweet for many Ukrainians as thousands have been killed or wounded, millions have been displaced from their homes, and so many others have fallen victim to Russian atrocities and attacks,” Biden said. “But six months of relentless attacks have only strengthened Ukrainians’ pride in themselves, in their country, and in their thirty-one years of independence.” Russia started the offensive on Ukraine on Feb. 24, this year.
The USD President said some US$ 2.98 billion in weapons and equipment were to be delivered through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which will enable Ukraine to buy air defense systems, artillery systems, and ammunition, as well as unmanned aerial systems and radars, to keep up the defense effort long term.
The funds can be used to address immediate war costs, including purchases of supplies and weapons, are separate from the Presidential Withdrawal Authority (PDA) under which Biden ordered arms and ammunition transfers to Ukrainian forces from US military stocks. Last Friday, the Pentagon announced the latest package under PDA: US$ 775 million worth of missiles, weapons, and anti-armor ammunition, as well as a fleet of armed demining vehicles.
Besides providing longer-term assistance that Ukraine can use for potential future defense needs, the new package is intended to reassure Ukrainian officials that the United States intends to keep up its support, regardless of the daily ups and downs. The United States of America is committed to supporting the people of Ukraine as they continue the fight to defend their sovereignty,” Biden said.
On Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine and the State Department issued a new security alert for Ukraine that repeated a call for Americans in the country to leave given Russia’s track record in Ukraine.”