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US starts sending arms to Ukraine; Biden says China, Iran helping Russia

The Pentagon said this package will surge munitions, weapons and equipment forward to support Ukraine's ability to defend its frontlines, protect its cities and counter Russia's continued attacks.
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 03:08 IST
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 03:08 IST

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Washington: The United States on Wednesday started sending much-needed arms and ammunition to Ukraine for it to fight against the Russian invasion, with President Joe Biden alleging that countries like China, Iran and North Korea are helping Moscow in this war.

"(Russian President Vladimir) Putin's friends keeping him well supplied. Iran sent him drones. North Korea has sent him ballistic missiles and artillery shells. China is providing components and know-how to boost Russia's defence production," Biden said as he signed the National Security Supplemental $95.3 billion aid package to Ukraine and Israel and to strengthen the security of America and its allies in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan.

"With all this support, Russia has ramped up its airstrikes against Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure, rained down munitions on brave Ukrainians defending their homeland. And now, America is going to send Ukraine the supplies they need to keep them in the fight," Biden said.

Hours later, the United States started shipping and airlifting equipment to Ukraine for air-defence munitions, artillery, rocket systems and armoured vehicles. "This package is literally an investment not only in Ukraine's security but in Europe's security, in our own security," Biden said.

"We are sending Ukraine equipment from our own stockpiles. Then we will replenish those stockpiles with new products made by American companies here in America. Patriot missiles made in Arizona, Javelins made in Alabama, artillery shells made in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. In other words, we are helping Ukraine while at the same time, investing in our own industrial base, strengthening our own national security and supporting jobs in nearly 40 states all across America,"the president said.

Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced a new package of weapons and equipment for Ukraine. 'This package, which is valued at up to USD 1 billion, includes urgently-needed capabilities, including air defence missiles, munitions for HIMARS, artillery rounds, armoured vehicles, precision aerial munitions, anti-armour weapons, and small arms, equipment and spare parts to help Ukraine defend its territory and protect its people,' he said.

"We are sending a powerful message today about the power of American leadership as we support Ukraine's fight against Russian aggression. The United States will continue to work with the coalition of more than 50 countries we have assembled to provide critical support for Ukraine's forces," Blinken said in a statement.

The Pentagon said this package will surge munitions, weapons and equipment forward to support Ukraine's ability to defend its frontlines, protect its cities and counter Russia's continued attacks.

"With the bipartisan support of Congress, Ukraine can count on strong and resolute US leadership to provide consistent security assistance support -- together with some 50 allies and partners -- to ensure its brave defenders receive the critical capabilities needed to fight Russian aggression," the Pentagon said.

Biden warned that if Putin triumphs in Ukraine, the next move of Russian forces could very well be a direct attack on a NATO ally. "You all know full well that invoking article five of the North Atlantic Treaty would be the first thing that comes to mind, which declares an attack on one as an attack on all. If Putin attacks a NATO ally like he is attacking Ukraine today, we would have no choice but to come to their aid, just like our NATO allies came to our aid after the September 11 (2001) attacks here," he said.

"That is why we are supporting and surging support now to Ukraine to stop Putin from drawing the United States into a war in Europe and in the future. You know, it seems to me, we should take a little bit of a step back and realise what a critical moment this was for the United States and for NATO. This is a historical moment," Biden said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in an interview to Fox News, thanked the US for this aid amounting to $61 billion. "The moment when we waited for this six-month decision, 61 billion hopes. So I am thankful to the people of America, what I wanted to say. I am thankful, not the first time. And I hope that you and the Americans will feel the result of their help, a resolve to save Ukraine and Ukrainians," he said.

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Published 25 April 2024, 03:08 IST

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