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U.S. Marks Ukraine's Independence Day With More Weapons


FILE - A boy waves a national flag atop of armored personal carrier at an exhibition of destroyed Russian military vehicles and weapons, dedicated to the upcoming country's Independence Day, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the center of Kyiv, Ukraine. Taken 8.21.2022

UPDATED: US President Joe Biden announced nearly $3 billion in military aid to Kyiv on Wednesday as Ukraine marked its independence day six months after Russia invaded the country.

"I am proud to announce our biggest tranche of security assistance to date: approximately $2.98 billion of weapons and equipment to be provided through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative," Biden said in a Wednesday statement.

"This will allow Ukraine to acquire air defense systems, artillery systems and munitions, counter-unmanned aerial systems, and radars to ensure it can continue to defend itself over the long term."

The funds can be used for immediate war costs, including acquisitions of supplies and arms, and are separate from the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), under which Biden has been able to order transfers of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine's forces from existing US military stockpiles.

On Friday, the Pentagon announced the latest package under the PDA: $775 million worth of various missiles, artillery, and anti-armor weapons and ammunition, as well as a fleet of armed mine-removal vehicles.

Biden also hailed Ukraine's resistance against Russia's invasion, which was launched on February 24.

"Six months of relentless attacks have only strengthened Ukrainians' pride in themselves, in their country, and in their thirty-one years of independence," he said.

"Today and every day, we stand with the Ukrainian people

Ukrainian President Vlodomyr Zelenskyy issued his own defiant address, declaring: "We don't care what army you have, we only care about our land. We will fight for it until the end."

Referring to Russia he vowed Ukraine "will not try to find an understanding with terrorists".

"For us Ukraine is the whole of Ukraine," he said. "All 25 regions, without any concession or compromise."

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