President Joe Biden on Thursday announced $800 million in new weapons for Ukraine and said the United States will support Kyiv “as long as it takes” in its war against Russia.
As Western-armed Ukrainian forces notched up a victory by recapturing strategic Snake Island in the Black Sea, and NATO leaders expressed strong unity during their Madrid summit, Biden made clear he intends to keep the pressure on President Vladimir Putin.
“Before the war started, I told Putin that if he invaded Ukraine, NATO would not only get stronger but would get more united,” an energised looking Biden told a press conference.
He spoke before returning to Washington after the NATO summit and a meeting of G7 leaders earlier in Germany, where he did not hold a press conference and kept a relatively low profile.
The Democrat announced yet another $800 million disbursement of US funding for Ukraine’s military in “the next few days”.
The latest arms, which notably focus on the deadly and highly accurate HIMARS systems, come on top of a staggering list of weaponry that has already transformed Ukraine’s forces, allowing them to fight head-to-head with the Russian invaders.
This will include “advanced Western air defence systems for Ukraine, more artillery and ammunition, counter-battery radar, additional ammunition for the HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems that we’ve already given Ukraine and more HIMARS coming from other countries as well.”
Biden said international contributions now amounted to “nearly 140,000 anti-tank systems, more than 600 tanks, nearly 500 artillery systems, more than 600,000 rounds of artillery ammunition, as well as advanced multiple launch rocket systems, anti-ship systems and air defence systems”.
With nearly $7 billion in donated arms, the US is “leading the way”, Biden declared.
The US president has encountered sporadic pressure in Western capitals and in the Washington foreign policy establishment to steer Ukraine to a compromise, given ever growing economic fallout for ordinary Americans and Europeans.
The war is also causing dangerous disruptions to global food supplies with the Russian attack against Ukraine’s agricultural industry.
But Biden spurned any suggestion of easing off in his press conference, saying that Russia was already badly damaged and would never be allowed to win.
“We are going to stick with Ukraine, and all of the alliance are going to stick with Ukraine, as long as it takes to make sure they are not defeated by Russia,” he said.
“Ukraine has already dealt a severe blow to Russia,” Biden said.
He mentioned the recapture of Snake Island by Ukraine and said Russia is “paying a very, very heavy price” on the battlefield.
“I don’t know how it’s going to end, but it will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine,” he said.
Declaring that Moscow “has already lost its international standing,” Biden also painted a dire picture of Russian economic prospects under the weight of Western sanctions, saying Moscow had defaulted on its debt and “they’ve lost 15 years of gains”.