President Joe Biden announced Thursday the United States will spend an additional $1.3 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine as it fights off the Russian invasion. Biden also added that he will be requesting more money from Congress to continue future financial assistance to Ukraine.
The renewed support from U.S. taxpayers comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory in the battle for Mariupol Thursday, though Ukrainian officials have denied this and Biden says it is “questionable” whether or not Putin’s victory in the Ukrainian city is complete.
As a new phase of fighting is expected to be concentrated in Ukraine’s Eastern Donbas region, Biden maintains that Putin will never succeed in occupying or dominating Ukraine.
“Putin is banking on us losing interest. That’s been my view, and you heard me say this from the beginning,” Biden said in an announcement from the White House. “He was counting on NATO, European Union, our allies in Asia cracking, moving away. He’s betting on Western unity [cracking]. He’s still betting on that, and once again we’re going to prove him wrong.”
Biden says $800 million in new funding will supply Ukraine with 72 155mm howitzers with 144,000 artillery rounds and trucks to tow the weapons. Also included are 121 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones. The other $500 million will go toward direct economic assistance to the Ukrainian government to help stabilize the country’s economy.
Biden also said that with this latest disbursement he has nearly exhausted the $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine approved last month by Congress as part of its spending legislation. He says that next week he will send Congress a supplemental budget request to “keep weapons and ammunition flowing without interruption.”
Biden also announced a new program to expedite legal Ukrainian migration to the United States and a new ban of all Russian ships from U.S. ports.
Thursday’s measures come in addition to the billions the United States has already spent on military, economic, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and the growing list of economic sanctions it has imposed against Russia.
“We have the capacity to do this for a long time,” Biden said. “The question is, are we going to continue to maintain a supportive international community to keep the pressure on Putin to prevent him from overrunning the country?”
Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. The number of refugees who have since fled Ukraine has surpassed 5 million. Another 7.7 million have been displaced within the country, according to the U.N.