In a March 12 memorandum to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Biden directed that up to $200 million should be designated for Ukraine’s defense, with the funds allocated through the Foreign Assistance Act. The funds would cover weapons and other defense items, as well as military services, education, and training.
It comes days after Congress approved $13.6 billion in emergency aid for Ukraine as part of a $1.5 trillion measure to fund the U.S. government through September.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said last week that weapons provided to Ukrainian forces have been effective against the Russian offensive.
“We believe the best way to support Ukrainian defense is by providing them the weapons and the systems that they need most to defeat Russian aggression. In particular, anti-armor, and air defense. We along with other nations continue to send them these weapons and we know that they’re being used with great effect,” Kirby said at a March 9 briefing.
Kirby said the slowed Russian advance near Kyiv and the fact that Ukrainian forces continue to contest the airspace above their country are evidence that the military assistance is making a difference.
The Pentagon spokesperson also said that the much-discussed question of supplying Polish fighter jets to Ukraine was off the table as the move could be mistaken as escalatory and would be unlikely to make much of a difference in the conflict.
Moscow, for its part, has warned that it considers any weapons deliveries into Ukraine as potential targets for interdiction.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov “warned the U.S. that pumping weapons from a number of countries it orchestrates isn’t just a dangerous move, it’s an action that makes those convoys legitimate targets.”
Russia on March 11 expanded its operations with strikes on airports near the western Ukrainian cities of Ivano-Frankiivsk and Lutsk, far from Russia’s main offensive but closer to Ukraine’s border with Poland, through which much of the military aid flows.
While Russia hasn’t shown any signs of changing course in what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and oust its leadership, analysts say the invasion has been slowed by fierce Ukrainian resistance.
Total Russian combat losses include more than 12,000 troops, upwards of 1,200 armored combat vehicles, 360-plus tanks, and over 80 helicopters, according to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a briefing with foreign reporters on March 12 that around 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since the invasion began on Feb. 24.
“We have about 1,300 servicemen deaths today, while Russia has more than 12,000. One in 10,” Zelensky said.
The Epoch Times has been unable to verify the figures.