Wednesday, February 28

US gives Ukraine $800 million more in military aid, adds heavy weapons

US President Joe Biden discusses the United States’ response to Russian invasion of Ukraine and warns CEOs about potential cyber attacks from Russia at Business Roundtable’s CEO Quarterly Meeting in Washington, DC, US, March 21, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis

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WASHINGTON, April 13 (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday announced an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine, expanding the scope of the systems provided ahead of a wider Russian assault expected in eastern Ukraine.

The latest package, which brings the total military aid tally since Russian forces invaded in February to more than $2.5 billion, includes artillery systems, artillery rounds and armored personnel carriers, Biden said in a statement after a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Biden said he had also approved the transfer of additional helicopters, saying equipment provided to Ukraine “has been critical” as it confronts the invasion.

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“We cannot rest now. As I assured President Zelenskyy, the American people will continue to stand with the brave Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom,” Biden said.

The new security assistance package, according to the Pentagon, includes 11 Mi-17 helicopters that had been earmarked for Afghanistan before the US-backed government collapsed and 18 155mm Howitzers, along with counter-artillery radars and 200 armored personnel carriers. This was the first time Howitzers have been provided to Ukraine by the United States.

The new package – first reported by Reuters on Tuesday – will be funded using the Presidential Drawdown Authority, or PDA, in which the president can authorize the transfer of articles and services from US stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency. read more

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As news of the latest security assistance package came out, executives from the top US weapons makers met with Pentagon officials to discuss the industrial challenges in the event of a protracted Ukraine conflict.

Zelenskiy has been pleading with US and European leaders to provide heavier arms and equipment as his country faces an invasion that has killed thousands and displaced millions.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” to destroy Ukraine’s military capabilities and capture what it views as dangerous nationalists, but Ukraine and the West say Russia launched an unprovoked war of aggression.

In Ukraine on Wednesday, Russia said it had taken control of the port in Mariupol and that more than 1,000 Ukrainian marines had surrendered in the southeastern Ukrainian city, which has been surrounded and bombarded by Russian troops for weeks.

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Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Idrees Ali; Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Doina Chiacu and Mike Stone; Editing by Will Dunham

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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