President Joe Biden said Thursday that the U.S. would give another $1.3 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine but that additional funding will soon be needed from Congress to maintain the flow of weapons.
Biden said the latest aid would include $800 million in heavy artillery weapons, including 72 howitzers and 144,000 rounds of ammunition, along with 121 tactical “ghost” drones. The U.S. also plans to provide another $500 million in humanitarian and economic assistance.
Biden said the U.S. would ban Russian affiliated ships from U.S. ports and is beginning a program to help Ukrainian refugees enter the United States.
Ukrainian civilians have been facing attacks by Russia’s military as it opens a long-anticipated offensive in the country’s eastern region with Russia claiming “success” Thursday in the besieged city of Mariupol. Biden said there is no evidence yet that Mariupol has “completely fallen.”
“We don’t know how long this war will last, but as we approach the two-month mark, here’s what we do know, Putin has failed to achieve his grand ambitions on the battlefield,” Biden said during remarks from the White House before heading to Portland, Oregon, and Seattle to promote the administration’s infrastructure plans and attend fundraisers for the Democratic Party.
With the additional aid announced Thursday, the U.S. has given $3.4 billion in military support to Ukraine since the start of the war, and $4 billion since Biden entered office. But Biden said he has nearly exhausted his drawdown authority given to him by Congress in last month’s spending bill. Next week he said he will make an additional request to Congress to “keep weapons and ammunition flowing without interruption.”
“We will not lessen our resolve. We’re going to continue to stand with the brave and proud people of Ukraine. We will never fail in our determination to defend freedom and oppose tyranny. It’s as simple as that,” Biden said.
Biden said the Defense Department is still determining how much additional funding he will request from Congress.
The United States also continues to work with its Allies and partners to identify and provide Ukraine with additional capabilities.
Biden met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at the White House before his remarks.