Joe Biden took to the podium today to announce that the US will provide another $ 800m military assistance package to Ukraine to “to further augment Ukraine’s ability to fight in the east, in the Donbas region. ”
“We’re in a critical window of time now where (Russian forces are) going to set the stage for the next phase of this war,” Biden said. “The United States and our partners and allies are moving as fast as possible to continue to provide Ukraine with the equipment it needs, its forces need, to defend its nation.”
This package will be in addition to the $ 800m package announced last week by Biden. This package will include “heavy artillery weaponsdozens of Howitzers and 144,000 rounds of ammunition to go with those Howitzers, ”Biden said. “It also includes more tactical drones. ”
It looks like we have a lot of Ukraine news coming out of the US this morning. In addition to speaking about providing more military assistance, it appears Joe Biden will be speaking momentarily about at new program that will allow US citizens to directly sponsor the immigration of displaced Ukrainian refugees in Europe, to speed up the travel process.
Ukraine prime minister Denys Shmyhal is in Washington today. As we reported yesterday, he will be meeting with House speaker Nancy Pelosi and other bipartisan congressional leaders later, but it appears he will also be meeting with defense secretary Lloyd Austin:
Howdy, live blog readers. Let’s get to it.
Joe Biden is scheduled to take to the podium today at the White House at 9.45am ET to provide an update on Ukraine and Russia.
An anonymous official told the Associated Press that Biden is planning to detail his plans to build on the roughly $ 2.6bn in military assistance that his administration has already approved for Ukraine.
This new package should be similar in size to the $ 800m package that Biden announced last week, and will include much needed heavy artillery and ammunition for Ukrainian forces in the escalating battle for the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
Yesterday, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters that five flights with military assistance have arrived in the region over the last few days, with more than half a dozen flights from the US scheduled to arrive shortly with even more equipment.
Biden yesterday lauded military officials for “exceptional” work arming Ukraine as he gathered the nation’s military brass for their first in-person group meeting at the White House of his presidency.
“I don’t know about you, but I’ve been to Ukraine a number of times before the war … and I knew they were tough and proud but I tell you what: they’re tougher and more proud than I thought , ”Biden told military commanders. “I’m amazed at what they’re doing with your help.”
More to come.
After we closed the blog down yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked the justice department to file an appeal seeking to overturn a judge’s order that voided the federal mask mandate on planes and trains and in travel hubs.
Biden administration officials had said they were awaiting the guidance of health officials before determining whether to file an appeal of the ruling made by Florida district court judge Kathryn Kimball Mizellethe youngest Donald Trump appointee to the federal bench, and minutes after the CDC asked, notice of appeal was filed in federal court in Tampa.
As you can imagine with this highly politicized ruling, the reaction to the appeal was staunchly bipartisan, with conservatives rallying against the appeal and Democrats supporting it.
More to come.