US Announces $225 Million Package in Meeting with Zelenskiy

US Announces $225 Million Package in Meeting with Zelenskiy

Paris - U.S. President Joe Biden met with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Paris on Friday, offering an apology for congressional delays in approving the latest U.S. aid package and announcing a new $225 million aid tranche. This meeting, coinciding with D-Day commemorations, was their first in-person interaction since Zelenskiy's visit to Washington in December, where both leaders urged Republican support for additional aid to Ukraine.

The two leaders are scheduled to meet again next week at the G7 summit in Italy, where Western nations will discuss the potential use of $50 billion in frozen Russian assets to support Ukraine.

Zelenskiy previously expressed frustration with the slow pace of Western decision-making on aid. During the Paris meeting, Biden praised Zelenskiy’s steadfastness in the conflict. "You haven't bowed down, you haven't yielded at all, you continue to fight in a way that is ... just remarkable," Biden said. He assured Zelenskiy of continued U.S. support, despite recent congressional delays. Biden acknowledged the delays before the last aid package passed in April, attributing them to opposition from conservative members of Congress.

Biden announced an additional $225 million to help Ukraine rebuild its electric grid and reiterated the U.S.'s unwavering support. Zelenskiy thanked Biden for the comprehensive support, emphasizing the importance of U.S. unity and comparing it to American support during World War II.

In Normandy, Biden drew parallels between the battle against tyranny in World War II and Ukraine's struggle against Russia, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a tyrant. Ukraine has faced significant challenges defending the Kharkiv region after a Russian offensive began on May 10.

The new U.S. security package includes air defense interceptors, artillery systems and munitions, armored vehicles, anti-tank weapons, and other critical capabilities to strengthen Ukraine’s defenses and capabilities across the front lines. Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted the importance of these additions.

Biden recently changed his stance, allowing Ukraine to use U.S.-supplied weapons against military targets inside Russia supporting the Kharkiv offensive. Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer noted the U.S. is striving to meet Ukraine's needs, particularly in providing artillery munitions and air defense interceptors, despite supply challenges.

The negotiations over the use of frozen Russian assets are ongoing. Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics Daleep Singh acknowledged the complexity of these discussions, indicating continued efforts to reach an agreement in Italy.

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