U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged another $800 million in weaponry for Ukraine on Thursday. Adding that he would ask Congress for more money to help bolster support for the Ukrainian military as it faces a fresh offensive by Russia forces in the east. Biden also announced $500 million in direct economic assistance to the Ukrainian government as it battles to save and manage the lives of people under siege. This follows the previous $800 million in military aid pledged last week. The U.S. has now provided more than $4 billion to Ukraine since the beginning of Biden’s presidency, according to the White House. $3.4 billion of that being sent after February 24th when Russia invaded.
The latest military aid package, the 8th installment from America so far, includes 72 howitzers, 144,000 artillery rounds, 72 tactical vehicles to tow howitzers and more than 121 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones. “We’re in a critical window now of time where they’re going to set the stage for the next phase of this war,” Biden said. The U.S and allies are “moving as fast as possible” to provide Ukraine with the equipment and weapons it needs. “This is money the government can help use to stabilize their economy, to support communities that have been devastated by the Russian onslaught and pay the brave workers that continue to provide essential services to the people of Ukraine,” Biden reportedly also said the new weapons are needed as Ukraine battles a major offensive from Russia in the east, in the Donbas region of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts as well as the northeast Oblast of Kharkiv, where the flatter terrain requires a different set of armaments. A U.S defense official reportedly told Reuters: “The first rounds of that equipment will be in the Ukrainian hands by the end of the weekend,”.
The American president also announced on Thursday of U.S plans to ban Russian-affiliated ships from docking at U.S. ports, further increasing economic pressure on Moscow from abroad. Since Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the Biden administration has deployed more than 100,000 U.S. troops to NATO-member countries.