Artillery price

Biden to bolster Ukraine with heavy artillery as Donbas campaign intensifies

WASHINGTON — President Biden announced $800 million in additional military aid to Ukraine as Russia begins what could be a decisive offensive in the Donbas region. Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes the second phase of the war will be more favorable to Russia than the initial invasion, launched in late February.

“Putin has failed to realize his grand ambitions on the battlefield,” Biden said Thursday as he prepared to leave Washington for a trip to the Pacific Northwest. He praised the Ukrainian military for “repelling Putin’s savagery” in the Battle of kyiv, which Russian generals told Putin they would easily win. Instead, the battle for the Ukrainian capital turned out to be what Biden called a “historic victory for Ukrainians.”

President Biden comments on the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier this week that Russia launched its offensive in the plains of Donbasswhere the Kremlin hopes to consolidate territorial gains first achieved during the Russian invasion of Ukraine eight years ago.

Biden predicted Thursday that the fighting in the Donbass would be “more limited in terms of geography, but not in terms of brutality”, an assessment generally shared by military experts. He said the new $800 million military aid would include 144,000 rounds of rounds, as well as heavy artillery, howitzers and “tactical drones”, an apparent reference to the explosive. Switchblade Unmanned Aerial Systems.

Putin “will never succeed in dominating and occupying all of Ukraine,” Biden swore. “It will not happen.”

Prolonged occupation, however, would be to Russia’s advantage, turning Ukraine into an image of Chechnya, the breakaway Islamic republic that Putin invaded in one of his first major acts as prime minister in 1999. The fighting there was ruthless and the ensuing occupation prolonged. When the Russian forces finally retired in 2009the dreams of a free Chechnya were dead.

Biden promised that support for Ukraine would be unwavering. “Putin is counting on our disinterest,” he said, adding moments later that Ukraine’s allies in the West “will not diminish our resolve.”

In order to “keep the flow of weapons and ammunition uninterrupted,” Biden said he would ask Congress next week for additional funds to help Ukraine. He also announced $500 million in non-military aid to Kyiv, as well as an accelerated program for refugees from the war-torn nation seeking entry to the United States.

The president also said that Russian ships would be blocked from docking at US ports.

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