Zelenskyy: “Russia Cannot Afford a New Arms Race” but Can Ukraine? Or Rather, Can Biden?

The Biden Administration, in its unwavering commitment to supporting Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, has announced an additional $200 million in security assistance. 

Maximizing Previously Authorized Assistance

This security assistance package, aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s defense capabilities, includes a range of essential equipment to help counter Russia’s ongoing war of aggression.

The assistance package serves as a crucial signal of the United States’ continued commitment to the Ukrainian people as they confront the challenges posed by Russian aggression.

The package is a result of effectively utilizing assistance previously authorized for Ukraine during prior fiscal years under the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA). 

The Biden Administration urges Congress to fulfill its commitment to Ukraine by passing additional funding.

National Security Investment

This call is vital to ensure Ukraine has the resources necessary to defend itself against Russia’s ongoing aggression.

Emphasizing the significance of security assistance for Ukraine, the DOD press release highlights its role in preventing a larger conflict in the region, deterring potential aggression elsewhere, and strengthening the American defense industrial base.

The package, valued at up to $200 million, includes various critical capabilities to enhance Ukraine’s defense, such as AIM-9M missiles for air defense. 

Zelenskyy’s Plea

“Next Monday, we will mark the 600th day of our resistance to Russia’s full-scale aggression against our people, against Ukraine. And today, no one can say for sure how many more days we will have to defend our independence and to defend our identity,” Zelenskyy said to a gathering of over 50 defense leaders.

He went on to say, “But we can already say several things which I think are important. First, Putin will not achieve Ukraine. Second, Russia cannot afford a new arms race. And third, democracy can win this battle.”

At this gathering, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy showed the growing concerns about potential cracks in international support for Ukraine.

He made a personal plea for military aid and recognized that political support in the United States has been inconsistent.

Addressing Worries Over Support

Zelenskyy acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding Ukraine’s military support in the context of the Middle East conflict. 

He expressed concerns about the potential division of support due to simultaneous crises while emphasizing the “very understandable volume” that the U.S. and Europe can provide.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin dismisses suggestions that support for Ukraine might diminish as the U.S. extends aid to Israel, stressing the capability and commitment of the U.S. to support both nations.

The meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, hosted by the U.S., takes place as Ukraine urgently seeks additional weapons to help regain territory from Russian forces before the arrival of adverse weather conditions.

However, political challenges in Congress and opposition among lawmakers have hindered the approval of new funding for Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Ongoing Requirements

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy underlines the continued need for air defense systems and long-range missiles to repel Russian forces from Ukrainian territory.

U.S. Defense Secretary Austin assured the U.S. that support for Ukraine remains unwavering. He announced that several allies will provide additional weapons and support to Ukraine, including air defense systems and munitions.

Austin announced a new leadership role for the U.S. in enhancing Ukraine’s air force, particularly with F-16 fighter jets.

The U.S. will lead a coalition alongside Denmark and the Netherlands, overseeing aircraft donations, sustaining and maintaining them, and conducting pilot training.

Ukraine’s progress in the ongoing conflict is acknowledged, with allies focusing on addressing both immediate needs and plans to invest in Ukraine’s future defense capabilities.

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