President Joe Biden said Wednesday the U.S. is sending more anti-aircraft, anti-armor weapons and drones to Ukraine to assist in its defense against Russia.
The president's comments came as he formally announced his administration was sending an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine, making a total of $2 billion in such aid sent to Kyiv since Biden took office more than a year ago. About $1 billion in aid has already been sent in just the last week.
The new aid package would include 800 anti-aircraft systems, 9,000 anti-armor systems, 7,000 small arms like shotguns and grenade launchers, as well as drones and other military equipment.
“We’re going to give Ukraine the arms to fight and defend themselves through all the difficult days ahead," Biden said.
We're making it easier for you to find stories that matter with our new newsletter — The 4Front. Sign up here and get news that is important for you to your inbox.
Biden spoke hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a video address to members of U.S. Congress in which he made an impassioned plea for the U.S. and West to provide more help to save his young democracy than world leaders have so far pledged to provide.
Biden's administration has stopped short of providing a no-fly zone or the transfer of military jets from neighboring Poland as the U.S. seeks to avoid a direct confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia.
The White House has been weighing giving Ukraine access to U.S.-made Switchblade drones that can fly and strike Russian targets, according to a separate person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly. It was not immediately clear if the new drones that Biden said would be delivered to Ukraine include the Switchblades.
U.S. & World
The day's top national and international news.
Already the Biden administration has sent Ukraine more than 600 Stinger missiles, 2,600 Javelin anti-armor systems, unmanned aerial system tracking radars, grenade launchers, 200 shotguns, 200 machine guns and nearly 40 million rounds of small arms ammunition, along with helicopters, patrol boats, satellite imagery and body armor, helmets, and other tactical gear, a U.S. official said.
This is a live update. Click here for complete coverage of the crisis in Ukraine.