US announces $300 million military aid package for Ukraine

US announces a new arms package for Ukraine as Congress blocks further aid.

Washington:

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a $300 million emergency arms package to prop up Ukraine, while Congress blocked further aid, as Poland’s leaders called on the White House to warn of a growing threat from Russia. Visited.

Biden said the stopgap shipment of missiles, shells and ammunition to Kiev was “not nearly enough” and would run out in a few weeks, leaving Ukraine vulnerable to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invading forces.

Democrats urged Republicans to stop blocking their massive, $60 billion aid package for Ukraine, which is locked in a bitter partisan fight ahead of a possible election against Donald Trump in November.

“We must act before it’s really too late,” Biden, 81, said as he met with Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the White House.

Standing alongside Polish and American flags and his top military and diplomatic officials, Biden said, “Russia will not stop on Ukraine. Putin will continue to push forward, endangering Europe, the United States, and the entire free world.”

The White House said the $300 million package, the first since December, was made possible by using money the Pentagon had saved on other purchases, thus allowing Biden to bypass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

– ‘out of time’ –

But White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the Ukraine war is now in one of its most dangerous phases since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

Moscow has recently made a series of advances in eastern Ukraine after months of standoff, raising fears in the West that Moscow is about to make a breakthrough as the war enters its third year.

Sullivan said the $300 million emergency package “is not enough to meet Ukraine’s battlefield needs and will not prevent Ukraine from running out of ammunition in the coming weeks.”

The Pentagon said the shipment will include long-range US-made HIMARS rockets, anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, artillery shells and small arms ammunition.

The head of the Central Intelligence Agency warned separately about the cost of inaction.

CIA Director William Burns told Congress, “Ukraine doesn’t lack courage and determination – they lack ammunition. And we lack the time to help them.”

Poland, which borders Ukraine and hosts nearly a million refugees from the war, is one of the NATO allies watching the situation in Washington with concern.

– ‘Russian imperialism’ –

Aides are also concerned by Trump’s recent threats to cut funding to Kyiv if elected in November. He has also encouraged Russia to attack NATO countries that fail to meet defense spending targets.

The Polish leader was visiting on the 25th anniversary of the day Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary joined NATO, less than a decade after leaving Soviet control.

Polish Premier Tusk told reporters, “The only message we should send to Moscow is that the West is more united than ever when it comes to Ukraine.”

During the visit of Polish leaders, the US State Department said it was approving a missile sale to Poland worth about $3.5 billion.

President Duda said that in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, NATO members should increase their defense spending from the current target of two percent to three percent of gross domestic product.

Poland spends the most of any country in the Western defense alliance – about four percent – ​​while the United States spends 3.5 percent.

“Russian imperialism must not be allowed to disrupt this stability and peaceful existence of Europe today,” Duda told reporters.

Pro-EU Premier Tusk, meanwhile, sought to downplay fears that his ongoing feud with the right-wing Polish president would strain Warsaw’s commitment to Ukraine.

“Poland will be a solid and permanent member of the Transatlantic Community, no matter who wins the elections in our country,” Tusk said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)