As Ukraine’s battle against Russia stretches into the harsh winter months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked U.S. President Joe Biden for “unprecedented” support from the United States, including an additional $275 million in security assistance announced by the Pentagon on Dec. 9.
During a phone call between the leaders on Dec. 11, Zelenskyy also praised the United States for providing funds to restore Ukraine’s ravaged energy system, which has been heavily targeted by ongoing barrages of Russian missiles.
“I had a phone call with U.S. President Joseph Biden and thanked [him] for the unprecedented defense and financial assistance that the U.S. provides to Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said in a Telegram post about the conversation. “This not only helps succeed on the battlefield but also maintains the stability of the Ukrainian economy.”
The latest round of assistance provided by the United States to Ukraine includes weapons, artillery rounds, and equipment to bolster Ukraine’s air defense, according to a Department of Defense (DOD) statement.
“This authorization is the Biden Administration’s twenty-seventh drawdown of equipment from DoD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021,” the statement announced.
In a Dec. 9 tweet, Zelenskyy thanked the United States for its “unwavering support” in his country’s “fight against Russian aggression.”
“No missile terror will stop our fight for freedom! It is important that the people of the United States are side by side with the people of Ukraine in this struggle,” he said.
Overall, the United States has given Ukraine more than $19.3 billion in aid since the war started in February, according to the DOD.
“[Biden] reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to continue providing Ukraine with security, economic, and humanitarian assistance, holding Russia accountable for its war crimes and atrocities, and imposing costs on Russia for its aggression,” the White House said in a statement.
Biden also highlighted the $53 million to support energy infrastructure to strengthen the stability of Ukraine’s energy grid in the wake of Russia’s targeted attacks. That was first announced on Nov. 29.
A statement posted on Ukraine’s presidential website states that Zelenskyy informed Biden that the “consequences of the Russian missile terror” has led to “the destruction of about 50 percent of the Ukrainian energy infrastructure.”
Zelenskyy praised “the aid allocated by the United States for the reconstruction of Ukraine’s energy system” and expressed hope for “further deepening of cooperation in this area.”
Before this year, Ukraine shared the same energy network as Belarus and Russia. Determined to cast Ukraine’s cities into the dark as the winter months approach, Russia is targeting high-voltage power lines, substations, and distribution grids with missile strikes.
The attacks cause prolonged blackouts before the damage is repaired. Ukrainian civilians continue to flee to Poland and neighboring countries.
Zelenskyy also encouraged Biden to “do everything possible to help protect the civilian population of Ukraine and its critical infrastructure.”
“This is especially important right now when the winter period has begun in Ukraine,” he said.
According to his office, Zelenskyy also spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Dec. 11.
The conversations happened a day ahead of the online meeting of G-7 leaders and European Union foreign ministers, at which they’re scheduled to discuss implementing more sanctions against Russia and providing more weapons to Ukraine.
In the phone call with Macron, Zelenskyy said he reinforced his 10-step “peace formula.”
“Synchronized positions on the eve of the G7 online summit and the Ukraine support conference in Paris. We discussed the implementation of our ten-step peace formula, cooperation on defense, and energy stability of Ukraine,” Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram.