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US: Biden hosts Zelenskyy at White House, announces military assistance package for Ukraine

Joe Biden hosted Zelenskyy at White House and announced a military package for Ukraine, while also vowing to defend the war-struck country amid Russian aggression.

Ashesh Mallick Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick7 Washington Published on: September 22, 2023 11:11 IST
President Joe Biden with Ukrainian President Volodymyr
Image Source : AP President Joe Biden with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

United States President Joe Biden announced to provide USD 325 million in new security assistance to Ukraine and vowed to defend the war-struck country from Russian aggression.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday (September 21) which was the sixth in-person meeting between the two leaders.

"Mr. President, the brave people of Ukraine -- and that's not hyperbole; the people of Ukraine have shown enormous bravery and have inspired the world with their determination to defend these principles," Biden told Zelenskyy in the Oval Office of the White House.

"Together with our partners and allies, the American people are determined to see to it that we do all we can to ensure the world stands with you, and that is our overwhelming objective right now," he said, as Biden welcomed the Ukrainian President for the third time at the White House this year.

Zelenskyy said that the regular dialogue between the two leaders has proved that both countries are “really truly allies and strategic friends”.

“And we greatly appreciate the vital assistance provided by the United States to Ukraine to combat Russian terror,” Zelenskyy said.

Reiterating his pledge to defend Ukraine's sovereignty, the US President said during the bilateral meeting later that the US will continue to support Ukraine's diplomatic effort to deliver a just and lasting peace that protects its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"Russia alone stands in the way of peace. It could end today. Instead, Russia is seeking more weapons from Iran and North Korea. It would violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions that Moscow itself voted to put in place," he said.

Biden announced US security assistance worth USD 325 million to Ukraine which included more artillery, ammunition, and anti-tank weapons.

"And next week, the first US Abrams tanks will be delivered to Ukraine," he said.

Biden and Zelenskyy reached a new agreement to strengthen Ukraine's defence capabilities under which the US will help Ukraine better its air defence during the winter season.

"We also focused on strengthening Ukraine's air defence capabilities to protect the critical infrastructure that provides heat and light during the coldest and darkest days of the year. That includes providing a second HAWK air defence battery with steady deliveries of additional HAWK and other systems each month through the winter. A new package of launchers and interceptors that's going to protect Ukraine -- Ukraine's grain silos, hospitals, schools, and power plants," Biden said.

"These capabilities will help Ukraine harden its defences ahead of what is likely to be a tough winter filled with renewed Russian attacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure to try to deprive innocent people of necessities like heat and electricity," he added.

The US President slammed Putin stating that the Russian President cannot achieve his objectives on the battlefield and has therefore resorted to attacks that are intended to “plunge ordinary people's lives into cold and darkness”.

“We are going to do everything --working with Ukrainians to make that task more and more difficult for Russia to be able to pull off,” he said.

Zelenskyy is also scheduled to visit Canada on Friday as part of his efforts to garner support from the Western allies.

Zelenskyy was scheduled to arrive at Ottawa's airport late Thursday after meeting with US President Joe Biden and lawmakers in Washington, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office said.

Trudeau planned to greet Zelenskyy and also to speak in Parliament in Ottawa on Friday.

It is Zelenskyy's first visit to Canada since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. He previously addressed the Canadian Parliament virtually after the war started.

(With AP inputs)

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