Biden to announce $1 billion in new military aid to Ukraine
WASHINGTON — President Biden is expected to announce a total of more than $1 billion in new military aid to the Ukrainian government as early as Wednesday, U.S. officials say, as Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky is expected to ask Congress for more help to defend his country against Russian invasion.
The $1.01 billion is expected to include more of the same kind of military equipment that the U.S. says Ukrainians need most: anti-armour and anti-aircraft systems, including man-portable air defenses such as the Javelins and the Stingers. The money would come from the roughly $13.6 billion allocated to Ukraine in the omnibus budget bill Mr Biden signed into law on Tuesday. The package Mr. Biden will announce includes the more than $200 million in support sent over the weekend and about $800 million more in new funding, for a total of more than $1 billion.
While the White House plans to send more troops to Europe to add to the roughly 15,000 deployed there since the start of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Mr Biden should not deploy more troops now, said American officials.
“We are acting urgently to further increase support for the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their country,” President Biden said Tuesday, without providing further details. “And I’ll have a lot more to say about that tomorrow about exactly what we’re doing in Ukraine.”
Senators and members of the House of Representatives from both parties have called on the administration to send as much military support as possible to Ukraine, and in his virtual address to Congress on Wednesday, Zelensky is expected to appeal for that support.
On Tuesday, Mr. Zelensky pleaded before the Canadian Parliament for a no-fly zone, asking lawmakers to stop Russia in its attempt to “annihilate” Ukraine.
“It’s a desperate situation, but it also allowed us to see who our true friends are over the past 20 days,” Mr Zelensky said.
But Pentagon officials and others say some forms of support would not help Ukrainians and risk plunging the United States into direct conflict with Russia inside Ukraine. These officials oppose the establishment of a no-fly zone, believing that it would not prevent Russian cruise missiles from being launched from inside Russia and could force American and military planes North Atlantic Treaty Organization to shoot down Russian planes. The Pentagon has also refused to support a separate proposal to supply Polish jet fighters to Ukraine via the United States, arguing that the Ukrainians are not using the jet fighters they already have. The Pentagon also discussed the logistical challenges of getting planes to Ukraine.
The new support comes after US officials said over the weekend that after the invasion Moscow reached out to Beijing for economic military assistance. China has been reluctant to distance itself from Russia, and Moscow and Beijing have denied that Russia has requested military assistance from China.
The United States is still sending the last tranche of support, about $350 million worth of weapons, to Ukraine. Since 2014, the United States had provided $2.5 billion in military aid before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, defense officials said.
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Appeared in the March 16, 2022 print edition as “Biden to Announce $1 Billion in New Aid.”