Biden Gives $2 Billion More in Military Aid to Ukraine on War Anniversary

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
February 24, 2023Russia–Ukraine War
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Biden Gives $2 Billion More in Military Aid to Ukraine on War Anniversary
U.S. President Joe Biden (C) meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (R) and his wife Olena Zelenska at Mariinsky Palace during an unannounced visit in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 20, 2023. (Evan Vucci/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

On the one-year mark of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration has announced an additional $2 billion in new military aid, bringing the total to $32 billion in taxpayer funds provided to Kyiv in the past 12 months, or roughly five times Ukraine’s annual military budget.

The $2 billion package, which is being provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), includes more rounds of ammunition, various small, high-tech drones, and equipment to counter Russia’s electronic warfare capability.

The Pentagon made the announcement on Feb. 24, the same day a year ago that Russian forces crossed the border into Ukraine to launch what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” to “demilitarize and denazify” its Western-allied neighbor.

NTD Photo
A man rides his bike past a destroyed Russian tank in Trostyanets, Ukraine, on March 30, 2022. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

‘Urgent Danger’

Western powers, led by the United States, see Moscow’s actions as an unprovoked act of aggression seeking to prevent Ukraine from becoming a thriving democracy on Russia’s doorstep and a beacon of liberty and democracy in the region.

In a statement issued on the anniversary of the invasion, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called Russia’s actions in Ukraine “a cruel war of choice that has killed thousands of innocent Ukrainians, forced millions more from their homes, left countless Ukrainians wounded or traumatized, and inflicted tragedy and terror on a sovereign U.N. member state.”

The Pentagon chief said that the conflict in Ukraine is the most “urgent danger” to the security of Europe since the Second World War.

He called it a “direct attack on the system of rules, institutions, and laws that the world built at such great cost after World War II” and reiterated the Pentagon’s commitment to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes.”

Germany Russia Ukraine War Military Aid
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (L) and the Ukrainian participant Oleksii Reznikov (R) attend the meeting of the ‘Ukraine Defense Contact Group’ at Ramstein Air Base in Ramstein, Germany, on Jan. 20, 2023. (Michael Probst/AP Photo)

‘War With the West’

Russia views its military operation as a preemptive strike against a neighboring country that has become increasingly hostile to Moscow and more beefed up militarily in close alignment with the Kremlin’s chief rival NATO.

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Vasily Nebenzya said Wednesday that Moscow views the situation around the conflict as a “war with the West for survival, for the future of our country, for our children, for our identity.”

Nebenzya alleged in remarks during a special session on Ukraine at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday that Western powers have been implementing their plan for around a decade and that, for them, “Ukraine is nothing but a bargaining chip in this plot.”

The Russian diplomat’s remarks came as the vast majority of members of the U.N. General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution demanding Russia’s immediate and unconditional withdrawal from all of Ukraine’s territory.

Vasily Nebenzya
Vasily Nebenzya, Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, addresses the United Nations General Assembly during a special session at the United Nations headquarters on March 23, 2022. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Details of New Military Aid

The newly-announced aid includes weapons to counter Russia’s unmanned systems and detect its electronic warfare capacity, as well as several types of drones, including the upgraded Switchblade 600 Kamikaze drone.

There’s also additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), more 155mm artillery rounds, and munitions for laser-guided rocket systems.

Mine clearing equipment, gear for secure communications, as well as funding for training and maintenance, are also part of the new package.

The Pentagon said the new security assistance seeks to “reaffirm the steadfast support of the United States for Ukraine’s brave defenders and strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses.”

“One year on, the commitment of the United States, together with some 50 countries who have rallied to rush urgently needed assistance to Ukraine, has only strengthened,” the Pentagon added.

Russia Ukraine War Military Aid
Airmen with the 436th Aerial Port Squadron use a forklift to move 155 mm shells ultimately bound for Ukraine, at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on April 29, 2022. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

‘As Long as It Takes’

The announcement of $2 billion in new aid comes just days after President Joe Biden made a secret visit to Kyiv, where he pledged $500 million in additional support and vowed that America’s commitment to Ukraine would remain ironclad for the long haul.

Planning for Biden’s visit to Kyiv was tightly held—with a relatively small group of aides briefed on the plans—on account of security concerns.

While in Kyiv, Biden told Zelenskyy the United States will stand with him “for as long as it takes.”

Zelenskyy responded in English: “We’ll do it.”

The Ukrainian leader said through an interpreter that Biden’s visit “brings us closer to victory” and expressed gratitude to Americans and “all those who cherish freedom.”

biden-in-ukraine
President Joe Biden (L) shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv on Feb. 20, 2023. (Evan Vucci/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

More Aid

In a statement issued on the one-year mark of the invasion, the White House touted the Pentagon’s additional military support to Ukraine in light of what it called Russia’s “brutal and unprovoked invasion.”

The White House also noted that the Biden administration has begun disbursing $9.9 billion in grant financing to help Ukraine meet critical needs like healthcare, education, and emergency services.

The United States is also preparing to deliver another shipment of critical electrical transmission grid equipment to Ukraine, which will include mobile generators for backup power.

The White House also said Biden is working with Congress to provide another $250 million in additional emergency energy assistance to Kyiv and up to $300 million to neighboring Moldova.

Meanwhile, about a dozen House Republicans have signed onto a resolution put forward by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) calling for an end to all “military and financial aid” to Ukraine.

Called the “Ukraine Fatigue” bill, the measure seeks to discontinue U.S. aid to Kyiv while pushing for Russia and Ukraine to reach a peace deal.

The United States is by far the biggest contributor of military and financial aid to Ukraine.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced the 32nd security assistance package using Presidential Drawdown Authorities (PDA) for Ukraine from U.S. military stocks.

This included capabilities like air surveillance radars and Javelin anti-tank weapons.

From The Epoch Times

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