Biden to announce $800M in military assistance for Ukraine
President Joe Biden is set to announce plans to send an additional $800 million in military aid to help Ukraine fight back against the Russian invasion, according to a White House official.
The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Biden will use a Thursday morning speech at the White House to detail plans to build on the roughly $2.6 billion in military assistance that his administration has already approved for Ukraine.
The new package is expected to include much needed heavy artillery and ammunition for Ukrainian forces in the escalating battle for the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
Earlier this week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country will send heavy artillery to Ukraine. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the Netherlands will send more heavy weapons, including armored vehicles.
A senior U.S. defense official said training of Ukrainian personnel on American 155mm howitzers has begun in a European country outside Ukraine.
Biden on Wednesday lauded U.S. military officials for “exceptional” work arming Ukraine as he gathered the nation’s military brass for their first in-person White House group meeting of his presidency.
Russia’s nearly two-month-old invasion of Ukraine was at the center of wide-ranging talks with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and combatant commanders.
Such a gathering was last held in October 2019. Donald Trump was president at the time and was facing a House inquiry that would lead to his first impeachment, which centered on allegations that he withheld military assistance from Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure Zelenskyy to dig up dirt on Biden’s adult son’s business dealings in Ukraine.
AP National Security Writer Robert Burns contributed to this report.