US announces new security assistance for Ukraine

Advertisement

The US will provide USD 128 million in new security assistance to Ukraine and the Department of Defence will give USD 198 million in arms and equipment under previously directed drawdowns, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Thursday (local time). Blinken’s announcement regarding security assistance comes amid Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington, DC where he held a meeting with his counterpart Joe Biden at the White House. In the statement, Blinken said, “Following President Biden’s announcement of a new security assistance package for Ukraine, pursuant to a delegation of authority from the President, I am authorizing additional security assistance for Ukraine, which will provide USD 128 million worth of U.S. arms and equipment from the Department of Defense stocks. The Department of Defense will also be providing USD 197 million in arms and equipment under previously directed drawdowns.”

Blinken noted that the arms and equipment include additional air defence munitions to help strengthen Ukraine’s air defence against aerial attacks from Russia. He further said that the security assistance includes artillery ammunition and anti-armour capabilities, as well as cluster munitions. The Secretary of State said, “The arms and equipment include additional air defence munitions to help strengthen Ukraine’s air defences against aerial assaults from Russia now and in the coming winter when Russia is likely to renew its attacks against Ukrainian critical infrastructure.” He added, “It also contains artillery ammunition and anti-armour capabilities, as well as cluster munitions, which will further enhance Ukraine’s capacity to continue its counter-offensive against Russia’s forces.”

Blinken called the partnership between the US and Ukraine “stronger than ever.” He said that Ukrainian forces in the past year have taken back more than 50 per cent of the territory seized by Russia’s forces since February 2022. He said, “We will stand united with Ukraine as it secures its future, a future in which its people rebuild and live safely in a resilient and thriving democracy, fully integrated with Europe.” Earlier, President Biden welcomed Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House. Biden said that the US remains committed to providing support in Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself against Russia’s invasion.

Advertisement

“Earlier this week at the UN General Assembly, I made it clear that no nation can be truly secure in the world if, in fact, we don’t stand up and defend the freedom of Ukraine in the face of this Russian brutality and aggression,” Biden said at the Oval Office, CNN reported. Biden said, “That’s why we brought together a coalition of more than 50 countries to help Ukraine defend itself. It’s critical.” He said the US has begun the process of formalizing our long-term commitment to Ukraine’s security,” along with fellow G7 leaders and other international partners and that’s why they “support a just and lasting peace, one that respects Ukrainian sovereignty and its territorial integrity,” CNN reported. He lauded the “enormous bravery” of the people of Ukraine, according to a CNN report.

Biden said, “It has inspired the world, really inspired the world with a determination to defend these principles, And together with our partners and allies, the American people are determined to see to all we can to ensure the world stands with you.” Zelenskyy and his wife Olena Zelenska arrived in a black SUV at the South Portico at 3:33 pm (local time). Joe Biden and US First Lady Jill Biden greeted them on their arrival. After posing for pictures, they entered the White House. Responding to a question on how important is his visit, Zelenskyy said, “Very important.” Before their arrival, an honour military corridor lined up on both sides of the driveway, with 56 flags representing all US states, territories and DC.

Earlier in the day, Zelenskyy held a meeting with US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries and US House Representatives. He stated that Ukraine is extremely grateful to the House, both parties and all the Americans for their support. The Ukrainian President posted on X, “I met with US House Speaker @SpeakerMcCarthy, House Democratic Leader @RepJeffries, and US House Representatives. Ukraine is sincerely grateful to the House, both parties and the entire American people for all the support. We have accomplished much together to safeguard democracy, freedom, and dignity; values shared by both of our nations.”

He added, “The Ukrainian people have suffered immensely as a result of Russian war crimes, but we have liberated more than half of the occupied territory from Russian invaders, and we can clearly see that victory is getting closer. During our meeting, we discussed the battlefield situation and priority defence needs, including air defence. I emphasized that a Ukrainian victory will ensure that neither Russia nor any other dictatorship destabilizes the free world again. To win, we must all stand together and work together.”