US providing Ukraine with additional $800M in security assistance: Biden

The US is providing Ukraine with an additional $800 million in security assistance ahead of a feared Russian assault on the country's east, President Joe Biden informed his Ukrainian counterpart Wednesday.

Biden and Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke by phone for roughly an hour before the US president issued a statement formally announcing the new aid package, which includes weapons, ammunition and other military aid.

"The Ukrainian military has used the weapons we are providing to devastating effect," Biden said. "As Russia prepares to intensify its attack in the Donbas region, the United States will continue to provide Ukraine with the capabilities to defend itself."

The new aid package will include "many" of the military systems already provided and will also include "new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine," said the president.

"These new capabilities include artillery systems, artillery rounds and armored personnel carriers," he added, further noting the US will also provide additional helicopters.

The US has previously delivered small arms, anti-tank systems like Javelin missiles, anti-air MANPAD systems such as the Stinger and drones, including the Switchblade loitering munition.

"The steady supply of weapons the United States and its Allies and partners have provided to Ukraine has been critical in sustaining its fight against the Russian invasion. It has helped ensure that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin failed in his initial war aims to conquer and control Ukraine," said Biden. "We cannot rest now."

The new aid package includes 18 155 mm Howitzers and 40,000 rounds, 10 counter-artillery radars, 300 Switchblade drones, 500 Javelin and "thousands" of other anti-armor weapons, 200 armored personnel carriers, 11 Mi-17 helicopters, claymore mines, unmanned coastal defense vehicles and other equipment, the White House said.

Spokeswoman Jen Psaki further said that Biden's comments Tuesday that Russia's actions in Ukraine amount to genocide were made because "it's becoming clearer and clearer each day that it is Putin's aim to wipe out the idea of being Ukrainian."

She maintained, however, that the president was voicing his personal opinions on the matter and not getting ahead of any legal determination, which typically "takes years."

At least 1,932 civilians have been killed and 2,589 injured in Ukraine since the start of the war, according to UN estimates, with the true figure feared to be much higher.

More than 4.6 million Ukrainians have fled to other countries, with over 7 million more internally displaced, said the UN refugee agency.

Source: AA

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