Biden says US to begin sending military equipment to Ukraine within ‘hours’

Written by on April 24, 2024

Caroline Purser/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden said on Wednesday the U.S. will begin sending military equipment to Ukraine within “a few hours.”

Biden, in remarks from the White House, announced he signed the $95 billion foreign aid package that passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support.

“It was a difficult path [to my desk] and should have been easier and it should have gotten there sooner,” Biden said of the legislation, which was first requested by the administration and seemed all but dead due to GOP-led opposition in the House before the sudden reversal of Speaker Mike Johnson.

“But in the end, we did what America always does: we rose to the moment, came together and we got it done,” he continued. “Now, we need to move fast and we are.”

The package will provide roughly $61 billion for Ukraine in its fight against Russian invaders, marking the first time in over a year Congress has approved new aid for the war-torn ally.

In anticipation of the legislation passing, the Biden administration worked up a roughly $1 billion military assistance package for Ukraine with the first shipment arriving within days of approval, a U.S. official told ABC News on Tuesday.

The package will include artillery rounds, air defense ammunition and armored vehicles, according to the official. The weapons and equipment will be drawn from existing U.S. stockpiles under presidential drawdown authority (PDA).

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Congress for the approval of the “vital aid,” and emphasized how urgent the issue is.

“The key now is speed,” he wrote in a statement posted to X. “The speed of implementing agreements with partners on the supply of weapons for our warriors. The speed of eliminating all Russian schemes to circumvent sanctions. The speed of finding political solutions to protect lives from Russian terror. Every leader who does not waste time is a life saver.”

The legislation also includes $26 billion for Israel, currently at war with Hamas in Gaza, and $8 billion for allies in the Indo-Pacific. Plus, it includes sanctions on Russia, China and Iran as well as a provision to seize Russian assets to assist Ukraine in rebuilding after the war.

Also tucked into the package is a measure to force a U.S. ban of TikTok if its Chinese parent company doesn’t divest from the app within a year, though the company is likely to sue to try to block the law.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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