Day 58: Biden unveils another $800 million military package for Ukraine
Iran Press TV
Friday, 22 April 2022 6:12 AM
US President Joe Biden has unveiled a new package of $800 million in military aid for Ukraine, which includes howitzers, armored vehicles, and tactical drones, amid the raging war in the country.
The fresh consignment includes 72 155mm howitzers, 72 armored vehicles to tow them, 144,000 rounds of ammunition, and more than 120 "Phoenix Ghost" tactical drones recently developed by the US Air Force, according to the Pentagon.
Speaking at the White House on Thursday, Biden said he will ask Congress next week for supplemental appropriations to fund more military and economic aid for Ukraine.
"Next week. I'm going to - have to be sending to Congress a supplemental budget request to keep weapons and ammunition flowing without interruption to brave Ukrainian fighters and to continue to deliver economic assistance to the Ukrainian people," Biden declared.
"My hope is, and my expectation is, that Congress will move and act quickly."
The new military package will bring the total amount the Biden administration has spent arming the former Soviet republic to $4 billion.
Biden told reporters that Washington has been moving weapons and equipment to Ukraine at "record speed" for helping Ukrainians to repulse Russia's military advances.
"We're in a critical window now of time where that they're going to set the stage for the next phase of this war. And the United States and our allies and partners are moving as fast as possible to continue to provide Ukraine ... the weapons their forces need to defend their nation," the US president said.
He said the United States has provided more than 50 million rounds of ammunition to Ukraine and that America alone has sent 10 anti-armor weapons such as Javelin missiles for every Russian tank in Ukraine.
"To modernize Teddy Roosevelt's famous advice: Sometimes we will speak softly and carry a large Javelin because we're sending a lot of those in as well," Biden said. "We're not sitting on the funding that Congress has provided for Ukraine. We're sending it directly to the front lines of freedom."
Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that the US House of Representatives would consider the additional aid for Ukraine as soon as next week.
There is a bipartisan among Democrats and Republicans for assisting Ukraine, despite stern warnings from Moscow against militarily aiding the government in Kiev.
US 'Ghost' drones for Ukraine
The Pentagon said the new package includes "Ghost" drones that are designed for attacking targets in Ukraine and are destroyed after a single-use.
Washington will provide more than 121 Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems to Ukraine as part of the new arms package, which will help them target Russian troops.
"What I can tell you is that it was developed for a set of requirements that very closely match what the Ukrainians need right now in Donbas," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
Kirby added that the drone has been "rapidly developed" to send to Ukraine.
Later, Kirby seemingly contradicted the comments and said the drone was already in development before Russia launched the military offensive in Ukraine two months ago.
"It was developed before [the military operation]... but it was developed for a set of requirements that very closely match what the Ukrainians need right now in Donbas."
US, Ukraine dispute fall of Mariupol
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday claimed victory in the biggest battle of the Ukraine war, declaring the port city of Mariupol "liberated," but Kiev and Washington insisted that the Ukrainian forces still held ground in the city.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday that "the devastated city of Mariupol 'continues to resist' despite Russian claims to have captured it."
He also welcomed fresh US aid to help confront Moscow's eastern offensive.
Moscow earlier said it has "liberated" the city, with just a few thousand Ukrainian soldiers left in the Azovstal plant complex, where thousands more civilians are believed to have taken refuge.
But Zelensky insisted that the battle for the city was still underway.
"In the south and east of our country, the occupiers continue to do everything to have a reason to talk about at least some victories," he said in a video address.
Ukrainian officials have appealed for an immediate humanitarian corridor to allow civilians and wounded fighters to leave the sprawling Azovstal steel plant.
"They have almost no food, water, essential medicine," Ukraine's foreign ministry said.
Ukrainian officials also said more than 1,000 civilians bodies have been retrieved from areas around the capital and that they are working with French investigators to document Russia's alleged war crimes.
"It's all being investigated," Oleksandr Pavliuk, head of the Kiev regional military administration, told reporters on Thursday. "There is no final number of civilians killed."
US private satellite imagery website Maxar released photos that it claimed showed a "mass grave" on the northwestern edge of Manhush, 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of Mariupol.
World Bank: Damage to Ukraine $60 billion so far
World Bank President David Malpass said physical damage to Ukraine's buildings and infrastructure has reached roughly $60 billion and will rise further as the war continues.
"Of course, the war is still ongoing, so those costs are rising," Malpass said.
At a news conference, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Russia should shoulder some of Ukraine's rebuilding costs.
Zelensky said on Thursday that Ukraine needs $7 billion per month for its economic recovery.
He also accused Russia of "destroying all objects in Ukraine that can serve as an economic base for life."
Zelensky asked the western countries to impose sanctions and freeze Russian assets to use that money to help rebuild Ukraine after the war and to pay for losses suffered by other countries.
Ban on Russian ships
During his meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Washington Thursday, Biden announced plans to ban Russian-affiliated ships from docking at US ports.
A senior Biden administration official was quoted as saying that the move aims to further isolate Russia.
Moscow soon announced its new countermeasures, sanctioning more than two dozen US citizens, including Vice President Kamala Harris, by denying them entry to the country.
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that the move was in response to "ever-expanding anti-Russian sanctions" by the Biden administration targeting Russian officials and their families, as well as scientists, businessmen, and cultural figures.
The US officials on the list of 29 citizens banned from traveling to Russia include White House chief of staff Ronald Klain, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Holland Hicks, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby, State Department spokesperson Ned Price and Doug Emhoff, Harris' husband.
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