President Biden announced Wednesday that his administration would authorize $800 million in additional security assistance for Ukraine, including artillery, helicopters and armored personnel carriers.
We’ll detail what’s in the package, including weapons not previously shipped to Ukraine, plus plans the Pentagon is considering to train Ukrainian soldiers and more in a damning new report on Russia’s global human rights violations. in Ukraine.
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Biden announces $800 million in aid to Ukraine
Announcing his administration’s latest military aid package to Ukraine, Biden said in a statement that he briefed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the new assistance in a phone call Wednesday.
“The Ukrainian military has used the weapons we provided to them with devastating effect. As Russia prepares to escalate its attack in the Donbas region, the United States will continue to provide Ukraine with the capabilities to defend itself,” Biden said.
What’s in the package: The Pentagon said the aid package includes 11 Mi-17 helicopters, 300 Switchblade drones, 200 M113 armored personnel carriers, 18 howitzers and 40,000 artillery rounds, 10 counter-artillery radars, 500 Javelin missiles, coastal defense craft not manned and protective equipment in case of an attack with chemical or biological weapons.
Biden also said the United States would help transfer “significant capabilities” from other allies to Ukraine, without providing specific details about those capabilities.
Pleas for more: The United States has committed $1.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began nearly seven weeks ago.
But Ukraine has requested additional weapons and systems to repel Russian attacks. Before his call with Biden on Wednesday, Zelensky posted a video on Twitter calling for additional air defense systems, fighter jets, artillery, armored vehicles and tanks from the US and its allies.
A constant accumulation: The United States has stepped up security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion began. Last week, the Biden administration helped facilitate the transfer of a Soviet-era S-300 air defense system from Slovakia to Ukraine by repositioning a US Patriot missile system in Slovakia.
Helos included: There were questions before the official announcement about whether helicopters would be included in the new package, but Biden’s statement made it clear that they would.
“For a while it was not clear from their side if they wanted additional helicopters,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday. “Today, they made it clear that they wanted them inside.”
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters that the 11 Soviet-era Mi-17 helicopters included in the package were initially destined for Afghanistan.
Read the full story here.
BIDEN PERSONALIZES WITH ATTACKS ON PUTIN
Biden is ramping up the pressure on Vladimir Putin, targeting the Russian leader, his family and his inner circle with words and actions.
The Biden administration has sanctioned Putin himself, his daughters and several of his personal friends and top advisers in an attempt to squeeze the Russian leader for his country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Biden also stepped up his rhetoric with Putin, calling him a war criminal, saying he cannot stay in power and most recently describing his actions as genocide on Tuesday.
Read more here.
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US forces may train more Ukrainian troops
The Pentagon is considering ways it can train more Ukrainian forces to use Switchblade drones and other weapons delivered to the country, including using US troops based on NATO’s eastern flank, a senior Ukraine defense official said Wednesday. USA.
Defense officials are looking at “a range of options” to train Ukrainian troops on systems provided to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion on February 24, the official told reporters.
“We are looking at options for additional Switchblade training and where and when it might happen and how we would do it,” they said. “Certainly one option that would be available to us would be to use troops that are closer to Ukraine, obviously troops that are on the eastern flank of NATO, and that remains an option open to us.”
Already there: The Pentagon has deployed thousands of US troops to reinforce NATO’s easternmost areas since Russia’s war against Ukraine, now in its 49th day.
The official said those soldiers, including those based in Poland and Romania, could remotely train a small number of Ukrainian troops who would then be sent back to Ukraine and train their colleagues.
Previous training: The US military has already trained a small number of Ukrainian soldiers on how to use Switchblade drones, as Washington has shipped hundreds of vehicle-destroying weapons to the former Soviet country.
Ukrainian troops, already in the United States, returned to their country earlier this month.
New instruction needed: The Biden administration announced later Wednesday a new $800 million weapons package for Ukraine that includes several “artillery systems, artillery rounds, and armored personnel carriers” that had not been delivered to the country until now.
The Pentagon anticipates that some of the items will require additional training for Ukrainian forces, but it is still analyzing how many US troops should be involved, where such training would be located and how long it would take, according to press secretary John Kirby. .
Read more here.
‘Credible evidence’ that Russia violated human rights
Russia’s assault on Ukraine has included “clear patterns” of violations of international humanitarian law, an investigation team sanctioned by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said on Wednesday.
Chilling evidence: The OSCE report also found “credible evidence” of fundamental human rights violations in areas of Ukraine that were largely under Russian control.
The report found evidence of torture, murder, and inhuman and degrading treatment of people.
He said he had found some evidence of misbehavior by the Ukrainian forces, including the way it has treated prisoners of war, but said “the violations committed by the Russian Federation, however, are far greater in nature and scale”.
A first: The OSCE report marks one of the first published investigations into the atrocities taking place in Ukraine. The document will be made available to judicial bodies designed to prosecute offenders of international humanitarian law.
What he found: The report found that Russia had deliberately attacked a maternity hospital in Mariupol on March 9, without offering any warning. He called it a “clear violation” of international humanitarian law and a war crime.
The report also cites a March 16 attack on a theater theater in Mariupol, where as many as 1,300 people were seeking shelter. Both sides of the theater were clearly marked “boys” to discourage an attack. Three hundred people died in the strike.
US Ambassador to the OSCE Michael Carpenter said in a statement Wednesday that the report “documents the catalog of inhumane acts perpetrated by Russian forces in Ukraine.” He also expressed concern that “Russian atrocities continue even after the conclusion of this report.”
Read more about the report here.
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