U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday the United States would send an additional $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine, the largest batch of weapons and equipment since the war began, in an effort to help prevent the invasion. Russian army slowly but surely to conquer the eastern Donbas. land.
The aid will include anti-ship missile launchers, rocket artillery and other munitions for the High Mobility Artillery Missile System that US forces are currently training for Ukraine’s military – all systems. important weapon for which the Ukrainian leaders urgently requested. Biden also said the United States would send an additional $225 million in humanitarian assistance to provide safe drinking water, medical supplies, food, healthcare, shelter and money to families to buy supplies. necessary.
Biden said in a statement the US remained committed to “supporting Ukrainians whose lives have been torn apart by this war”.
The aid comes as US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin convened a meeting in Brussels with more than 45 countries to discuss support for Ukraine. At the start of the meeting, Austin warned that the West must step up arms deliveries to Ukraine and demonstrate its commitment to helping its troops fight along a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front in a war of attrition with Ukraine. Russia.
He called on the participating nations to demonstrate “our unwavering determination to give Ukraine the capabilities it urgently needs to defend itself”. And he warned, “We can’t give up and we can’t lose our breath. The bet is too high. ”
Overall, since the war began in late February, the United States has committed about $5.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including this latest package. Officials say about a third of the latest $1 billion will come from the president’s withdrawal agency, meaning the Pentagon will take weapons and equipment from its own inventory and ship them to Ukraine. . The remaining two-thirds will be equipment and weapons purchased by the US from industry and then transferred to Ukraine.
Austin’s meeting, also attended by Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, took place on the opening day of a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers at the alliance’s headquarters.
The increase in arms supplies cannot come too soon for Ukrainian forces fighting to prevent Russia from taking control of their country’s eastern industrial zone after more than three-and-a-half months of war. In his nightly address to the nation, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday begged for more and faster deliveries of weapons to the West, specifically demanding anti-missile defense systems.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “Allies are committed to continuing to provide the military equipment that Ukraine needs to prevail, including heavy weapons and long-range systems.
Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said on Tuesday that without help from the West, “we would not be able to win this war”. She said Ukraine uses 5,000 to 6,000 shells a day, while Russia uses 10 times that number.
The defense ministers also plan to discuss reinforcement moves along NATO’s eastern flank and elsewhere, which have gathered strength since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“This means more presence, more capacity and greater availability, with more battle formations deployed from the front of NATO to strengthen our battle groups. I’m in the East, lots of air, sea and cyber defenses, pre-positioned weapons and equipment stockpiles,” Stoltenberg said.
On a separate but related topic, he would not commit to a timeframe for Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is blocking membership bids, accusing Nordic nations of supporting Kurdish fighters deemed terrorists by Turkey.
“My aim is to get this resolved as soon as possible, but as we are several countries involved in this process, there is no way to tell you exactly when we will resolve it. ,” said Stoltenberg.
Because of Turkey’s concerns, “this will take longer than we initially expected,” he said.
Erdogan signaled on Wednesday that he would not back down.
“We certainly won’t change our position until Sweden and Finland take clear, concrete and resolute steps in the fight against terrorism,” Erdogan said in a speech to foreign ministers. ruling party legislator.
All 30 NATO members must agree to admit new members.
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said at a meeting on Wednesday in Oslo that the goal for the NATO summit in Madrid was to ensure “that Sweden and Finland are succeeding on the next step towards achieving join NATO.” However, he said it was important to work with Turkey and minimize their concerns.
Corder reports from The Hague, Jan M. Olsen of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Suzan Fraser of Ankara, Turkey, contributed.