Biden Calls for $33 Billion Aid Package for Ukraine – United States President Joe Biden requested an enormous increase to the Ukrainian aid budget this week, asking Congress to support a $33 billion package to help the country stop Russian forces from taking control of the eastern Donbas region.
After signing the new request on Thursday, the president told White House correspondents that the United States should “support Ukraine in its fight for freedom.”
Biden defended the size of the proposed aid package, which is substantially more than the $13.6 billion economic, humanitarian, and military aid package that was approved in March. Since then, additional spending in increments of hundreds of millions of dollars has also been pledged to the country.
“The cost of this fight, it’s not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly,” he said.
Where is the Money Going?
Most of the money pledged by the United States has been allocated to defense and military spending. The United States has provided large numbers of howitzers, drones, and Javelin missiles to Ukraine and continues to develop new plans to increase the speed at which military hardware is transported to Ukraine’s borders.
As of last week, the United States has supplied Ukraine with 72 tactical vehicles, used to tow howitzers, as well as 16 helicopters and several hundred multipurpose vehicles. Hundreds of armored personnel carriers, over 1,400 anti-aircraft systems, and over 20,000 anti-armor systems have made their way to Ukraine. Over 700 Switchblade drones, both the 300 and 600 models, have also been sent to Ukraine, and this week the United States announced the development of a brand new “Phoenix Ghost” drone that will also be sent to Ukraine.
How Will Putin Respond?
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly threatened NATO countries that continue to supply Ukraine with weapons and supplies. Earlier this month, Putin told an audience at the Vostochnh space launch facility in the far east of Russia that he would create “waves of migrants” in Europe and ensure that Western countries face “consequences” if they “worsen the situation” in Ukraine.
This week, Putin also threatened “lightning-fast” strikes against NATO countries if “interference” in Ukraine continues.
“If someone decides to intervene in current events [in Ukraine] from the outside and creates unacceptable strategic threats for Russia, then [they] must know that our response, our retaliatory strikes, will be lightning-fast, quick,” the Russian president told his country’s legislators in St. Petersburg.
“We have all the tools for this – such that no one else can boast of right now.”
For now, it appears to be just words – but as aid packages from the West increase in size, and as Russia continues to struggle to achieve its objectives in Ukraine, the threat of an escalation from Russia also increases.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.