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Biden vows allies will stand with Ukraine ‘Until They Prevail’

U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (left) shake hands after signing a bilateral security agreement during a press conference at the Masseria San Domenico on the sidelines of the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Savelletri. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

U.S. President Joe Biden hailed a new security agreement, plans for $50 billion in Ukraine aid and expanded sanctions targeting Moscow as a clear signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. and allies are not “backing down” from their support for Kyiv.

“We’ll be with Ukraine until they prevail in this war,” Biden said Thursday alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at a press conference in Italy, hailing the measures as critical to sustaining support for Ukraine as its war to repel Russia’s invasion enters a third year.

At the same time, Biden said he was sticking by his decision to not deploy American troops to fight in Ukraine and had no plans to allow Ukraine to use U.S.-weapons to strike targets farther into Russian territory. Biden said the U.S. could best help “not by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine but by providing weapons and ammunition, expanding intelligence sharing, continuing to train brave Ukrainian troops” and by “investing in Ukraine’s defense industrial base.”

Biden also warned that China was aiding Russia’s war effort, even though he said Beijing wasn’t directly supplying Moscow with weapons — a matter that he discussed with his counterparts at the Group of Seven leaders summit in Italy.

“China is not supplying weapons but the ability to produce those weapons, the technology available to do it, so it is, in fact, helping Russia,” the president said.

Leaders at the G-7 summit agreed to a breakthrough deal that will use profits generated by frozen Russian sovereign assets to provide an upfront loan to Ukraine, with the money expected to start flowing by the end of the year.

“Our goal is to strengthen Ukraine’s credible defense and deterrence capabilities for the long term,” Biden said. “The lasting peace for Ukraine must be underwritten by Ukraine’s own ability to defend itself now and to deter future aggression.”

Biden has ramped up financial and military support for Ukraine as Kyiv looks to reverse the war’s momentum in the face of a renewed Russian offensive. The moves come with Biden locked in a close reelection contest with Donald Trump, whose criticisms of Ukraine aid and alliances including NATO have sparked angst among allies the U.S. could break its commitments if the Republican wins the November election.

The U.S. also plans to send a second Patriot missile battery to Ukraine, a response to Zelensky’s pleas for seven of the powerful air-defense systems to protect against Russian attacks. Biden said allies had acquired commitments from “five other countries so far” for Patriot batteries and other air defense systems.

“You’ll have some relatively quickly,” Biden said.

Biden and Zelensky at the press conference signed a bilateral agreement outlining how Washington will provide security and intelligence assistance to Kyiv, along with other defense capabilities.

The agreement also requires Ukraine to bolster the integrity of its judiciary and take additional anti-corruption measures. It also allows for combined military maneuvers and exercises.

The deal will remain in force for 10 years unless extended or canceled in writing.

Biden on Thursday also touted expanded U.S. sanctions that raise risks for banks that help facilitate financial transactions with Moscow, saying it was “intensifying pressure on Russia” and choking off its war machine. The moves target key parts of Russia’s financial sector as well as future energy projects.

Following the G-7, representatives from more than 100 countries are heading to a weekend summit on Ukraine in Switzerland, where the U.S. will be represented by Vice President Kamala Harris and national security adviser Jake Sullivan.


© 2024 Bloomberg L.P

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