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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Joe Biden sends $1.3BILLION to aid communities ‘devastated by Russian onslaught’

NewsJoe Biden sends $1.3BILLION to aid communities ‘devastated by Russian onslaught’

On Thursday, the US President announced that $800 million will be sent in defence assistance along with $500 million in “direct economic assistance” which will help set up a new programme for Ukrainian refugees to enter the United States. Mr Biden credited the defence assistance provided by the US and EU with helping the Ukrainian military slow down the Russian invasion over the past two months.

He said: “This is money the government can help us to stabilise 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.

“Every American taxpayer, every member of our armed forces can be proud of the fact that our country’s generosity and the skill and service of our military helped to … repel Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, to beat back Putin’s savagery … and wipe out Ukraine’s government.

“Now we have to accelerate that assistance package to help prepare Ukraine for Russia’s offensive that’s going to be more limited in terms of geography, but not in terms of brutality.”

Mr Biden continued, calling the “Battle of Kyiv” a “historic victory for the Ukrainians” won due to the “unprecedented assistance by the United States and our allies and our partners”. 

The US President said the US aid would be sent “directly” to what he described as “the frontlines of freedom” to be put in the hands of the “fearless and skilled Ukrainian fighters” who have been “standing in the breach” against Mr Putin’s forces.

However, Mr Biden warned that his authority to direct arms and aid to Ukrainian forces is quickly butting up against the upper limits of the appropriations bill he signed into law last month.

He said he will be asking Congress to approve a supplemental budget request in order “to keep weapons and ammunition flowing without interruption”.

He added: “My expectation is Congress would move and act quickly.”

READ MORE: ‘Insecure’ Putin turns to ‘last weapon’

He added that the ban was “another critical step” taken “in concert” with US allies in the UK, Canada, and EU “to deny Russia the benefits of international economic system that they so enjoyed in the past”.

It comes as World Bank President David Malpass has said that the damage to Ukraine’s buildings and infrastructure from Russia’s invasion has reached around $60billion (£46billion).

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that his country needs $7billion (£5billion) a month to make up for economic losses caused by the invasion.

Mr Zelensky has also claimed that Moscow rejected a proposal for a ceasefire this weekend, although the Kremlin has not commented on the matter.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also ordered his troops not to storm the Azov steel plant in Mariupol where the last group of Ukrainian fighters are holding out.

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