President Biden on Thursday announced an additional $800 million in military aid to help Ukraine, and he warned that Congress will need to approve additional assistance, per the AP. The new military package includes heavy artillery, 144,000 rounds of ammunition, and drones for Ukrainian forces in the escalating battle for the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. It builds on roughly $2.6 billion in military assistance that Biden had previously approved. He also announced that all Russian-affiliated ships would be barred from US ports. Biden said that $13.6 billion approved last month by Congress for military and humanitarian assistance was “almost exhausted.”
“Next week, I’m going to have to be sending to Congress a supplemental budget request to keep weapons and ammunition deployed without interruption,” Biden said. Congress has signaled it is receptive to further requests and has been expecting there would be a need for further help for the Ukrainians. Biden did not detail how much additional funding he would request. Biden spoke on the new assistance, and more broadly about the situation in Ukraine, hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory in the strategic city of Mariupol. Putin, however, ordered his troops not to risk more losses by storming the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the war’s iconic battleground.
Biden in a brief exchange with reporters following his remarks called Russia's claim on Mariupol “questionable.” The new tranche of US military assistance is expected to include 72 155mm howitzers, 144,000 artillery rounds, 72 vehicles used to tow to the howitzers onto the battlefield, and over 121 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones, as well as field equipment and spare parts. 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 Zelensky that the Netherlands will send more heavy weapons, including armored vehicles.
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