US President Joe Biden has asked Congress to approve a $33 billion package of military and economic aid to Ukraine, ignoring Russian threats of reprisals against countries that continue to supply Volodomyr Zelenskiy’s regime with assistance.
Biden asked Congress to immediately approve the package, which would more than double US aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion. Over $20bn of the proposed spending would be on military aid, including the provision of cyber warfare tools as well as more traditional weaponry.
Biden additionally requested $8.5 billion in economic aid and $3 billion in humanitarian relief, as well as funding for projects aimed at offsetting food shortages caused by the impact of Russian military action on supply chains.
The president told reporters at the White House that the assistance was a “small price to pay” compared to the consequences of showing indifference to the situation unfolding in Europe.
“The cost of this fight, it’s not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen,” said Biden. “We either back the Ukrainian people as they defend their country or we stand by as the Russians continue their atrocities and aggression in Ukraine.”
Continued US assistance to Kyiv comes despite Russian warnings that increased western weapons supplies to Ukraine would invite reprisals and increase the risk of nuclear conflict.
A few hours after Biden addressed Congress, Kyiv was two cruise missiles hit targets in Kyiv whilst UN Secretary General António Guterres was visiting the city.
Guterres and his team were said to be “shocked” by the proximity of the attack, which came shortly after the UN official had met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak called the attack a “postcard from Moscow”, asking why Russia retained its seat on the UN security council.