President Joe Biden is expected to detail an additional $800 million in military support for Ukraine on Wednesday after that country’s president pleaded with Congress to do more to help Ukraine defend itself against the military onslaught from Russia.
Biden is expected to outline in more detail the types of security assistance the U.S. is providing, including anti-armor and air defense systems, a White House official said ahead of the remarks. The added assistance brings the total authorized by Biden to $2 billion since the start of his presidency.
But Biden wasn’t expected to announce any of the actions that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked for in his remarks to Congress earlier Wednesday, including a no-fly zone over Ukraine to deter Russian bombers that have hit hospitals, schools and residential buildings, as well as fighter jets — two measures the U.S. has repeatedly rejected.
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“I have a need. I need to protect our sky. I need your decision, your help,” Zelenksyy told Congress. “…Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.”
The White House has been facing pressure from Congress to increase its support for Ukraine, with several members saying they were extremely moved by Zelenskyy’s remarks.
Biden signed a government funding bill on Tuesday that included $13.6 billion in military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine on top of the $1.2 billion the U.S. has already provided to Ukraine military forces and in the past few weeks the U.S. provided nearly $300 million in humanitarian assistance.
The U.S. is also considering providing Ukraine with U.S.-made killer drones — cutting-edge guided missiles that could accurately target Russian tanks and artillery positions from miles away — according to two congressional officials briefed on the matter.
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Along with military equipment, the U.S. has been airlifting emergency relief supplies into staging positions in the region, including high thermal blankets, water treatment equipment, soap and safe drinking water.
The steps by the U.S. come as the war enters its fourth week and Russia ups its assault on the capital, Kyiv, where Mayor Vitali Klitschko imposed a 35-hour curfew Tuesday after Russian missile strikes destroyed apartment buildings and caused deaths.