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Biden announces new $800 million round of military aid to Ukraine

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Biden announces another $800 million security package for Ukraine 19:06

Washington — President Biden announced Thursday the U.S. will provide another round of security assistance to Ukraine worth roughly $800 million, as the war with Russia enters in next phrase with Russian forces continuing their large-scale offensive to take control of Ukraine's east.

The equipment will "further augment Ukraine's ability to fight in the east in the Donbas region," the president told reporters. The Defense Department said the package includes 72 155mm howitzers, 144,000 artillery rounds, 72 tactical vehicles to tow the howitzers and 121 unmanned aerial vehicle systems, known as "Phoenix Ghost" drones. 

"We won't always be able to advertise everything that our partners are doing to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom, but to modernize Teddy Roosevelt's famous advice, sometimes we will speak softly and carry a large Javelin, because we're sending a lot of those in as well," he said, referring to anti-tank weapons the U.S. has provided to Ukraine to destroy Russian vehicles. "But we're not sitting on the funding that Congress has provided for Ukraine. We're sending it directly to the front lines of freedom to the fear less and skilled Ukrainian fighters who are standing in the breach." 

The president said he would ask Congress to pass a supplemental bill to provide more funding for Ukraine when lawmakers return to Washington next week. With this latest dispersement, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday the U.S. will have "almost exhausted the drawdown authority that Congress authorized for Ukraine" for security assistance.

Mr. Biden also announced a new humanitarian parole program for Ukrainians with U.S. ties that would allow them to enter the U.S. directly through an "expedient channel," rather than through the southern border. Thousands of Ukrainians have been flying to Mexico to seek asylum at the border, since the U.S. requires visas for entry. 

President Biden Provides Update On Russia And Ukraine
President Biden delivers remarks on Russia and Ukraine from the Roosevelt Room of the White House on April 21, 2022. / Getty Images

Mr. Biden met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Thursday ahead of his remarks, and said the two had a "good" conversation. They discussed how to keep European allies unified in their efforts to support Ukraine. 

In addition to the security aid, the U.S. will also provide $500 million in budgetary assistance to help Ukraine cover government expenses such as salaries, pensions and other programs. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced the financial assistance during a meeting with Shmyhal and other Ukrainian officials in Washington.

"The needs of Ukraine are urgent and we plan to deploy this direct aid to Ukraine as soon as possible to be used on the most urgent needs," Yellen said. "We know this is only the beginning of what Ukraine will need to rebuild, and I'm committed to working with congress and with our international allies and partners to build on this support in the medium and long term."

The treasury secretary has been meeting this week with the heads of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, as well as her counterparts in G-7 and G-20 countries, in the first gatherings of these officials since the war in Ukraine began. The need for more aid has been the main focus of discussion.

The new package of security assistance adds to the roughly $2.6 billion the U.S. has already sent Ukraine to help bolster its defenses against Russia, which has mounted continuing assaults in a new effort to seize control of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

During a meeting with top military officials at the White House on Wednesday, Mr. Biden praised their "exceptional" work in equipping and arming Ukrainian fighters as they defend their nation from Russia's invasion.

"I knew they were tough and proud, but I tell you what, they're tougher and more proud than I thought," Mr. Biden said of the people of Ukraine. "I'm amazed what they're doing with your help, in terms of providing advice and weaponry we're providing, along with the rest of NATO. Weapons and ammunition are flowing in daily.  And we're seeing just how vital our alliances and partnerships are around the world."

As Ukraine braces for this phase of the war after Russian troops suffered earlier setbacks, a growing number of allies and partners have joined the U.S. in rushing to send military supplies and weapons into the country. 

Ukrainian soldiers are also learning to use howitzers sent by the U.S., a senior defense official said Wednesday, and numerous flights carrying military equipment from the $800 million package announced last week arrived in the region over the past few days.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday pledged his country will send heavy artillery to Ukraine as it faces the assault by Russia in the east, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said earlier this week that he told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy the Netherlands will be sending "heavier material" to Ukraine, including armored vehicles.

Sarah Ewall-Wice and Eleanor Watson contributed reporting.

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