Before he boarded Air Force One to head to Oregon, President Joe Biden announced to the press that the United States is poised to send another $800 million in various forms of aid to war-torn Ukraine. Biden said that any assistance from this point forward will need Congressional approval.
This aid is in addition to $500 million that was allocated for Ukraine in March, and comes after billions have been spent to send defensive weapons, including javelins and other anti-aircraft or anti-tank weapons.
Biden also announced that the United States is working on a provision that would allow for Ukrainian refugees to come into the country, but not via the southern United States border. Last week, the media revealed that many Ukrainians have made it to Mexico in an effort to seek asylum in America. Many churches with Ukrainian connections have been sending aid to these refugees in particular.
The announcement comes as news outlets reported Russia is claiming to have successfully taken Mariupol, a city in southern Ukraine. Mariupol is a strategically important city as it would cut off a great deal of Ukraine from receiving supplies via the Black Sea. Ukrainian citizens in the city – as well as Ukrainian marine troops – are said to be hunkered down in a steel plant. Allegedly, Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed his troops to clamp down around the area, but to refrain from attacking the location. Military experts say this is a move to starve out the survivors.
Biden praised the efforts of both the Ukrainian military and civilians in keeping Kyiv from falling to Russian troops. The world has come to admire the resolve of the Ukrainian people, and they particularly laud the leadership qualities of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Biden also said, “There is no evidence that Mariupol has completely fallen to Russia.” He added that Russian troops should allow any Ukrainian civilians sheltering in the steel factory’s basement to evacuate safely.
Biden also warned that the conflict in Ukraine is “now entering a critical window,” in which Russia could be gearing up for a new phase in its “special military operation” against its neighboring country. When Russian troops initially invaded Ukraine, many believed the country would be overtaken in a matter of days. Nearly sixty days later, Ukraine is still holding on. However, the country’s infrastructure has been devastated, and President Biden said that at least two-thirds of the country’s children have been displaced.
Ukrainian refugees have scattered among the Ukraine’s neighboring countries, including Poland, Hungary, Moldova, and Romania.
Some of the military aid Biden is sending as a part of this latest announcement includes howitzers and ammunition.
While the United States has spearheaded several economic sanctions against Russia, they continued to allow Russian ships to dock at U.S. ports. As a part of the military aid announcement, Biden added that “no ship that sails under the Russian flag” – which appears to apply to private as well as government-owned vessels – “is allowed to dock in a United States port or access our shores.”