President Joe Biden told his Ukrainian counterpart on Tuesday that the US would soon announce a new weapons package for Ukraine worth $625 million.
In a phone call with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Biden pledged to continue supporting Ukraine as it fends off Russia’s further invasion.
Biden said the US aid would continue for “as long as it takes” and informed Zelenskyy that additional weapons and equipment, including HIMARS, artillery systems and ammunition, and armored vehicles would be announced today.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the weapons would come from the twenty-second drawdown of US stockpiles for Ukraine since August 2021. Blinken said the latest drawdown would bring the total US military assistance for Ukraine to more than $17.5 billion since January 2021.
“President Biden also affirmed the continued readiness of the United States to impose severe costs on any individual, entity, or country that provides support to Russia’s purported annexation,” the White House said in a readout of the call.
Russia’s envoy to the United States responded by warning that Biden’s offer may provoke a direct military clash between Russia and the West, Reuters reported.
On the Telegram messaging app, Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said that Washington needs to stop “provocative actions” that could lead to “serious consequences.”
“We perceive this as an immediate threat to the strategic interests of our country,” he said.
Last week, Vladimir Putin unilaterally annexed four Ukrainian regions after a so-called referendum.
The US and Europe said they would never recognize these annexed lands as part of Russia and announced sanctions against Russian individuals, officials and allies of Putin.
“In addition, President Biden noted the ongoing efforts of the United States to rally the world behind Ukraine’s efforts to defend its freedom and democracy, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter,” the White House said.
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