President Joe Biden will give an update on the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday as he works to complete a new weapons package for his military.
Biden is scheduled to address Americans from the White House Roosevelt Room at 9.45 a.m. (1345 GMT) and a source familiar with the plan said he would receive “an update on our efforts to support Ukraine and the assistance we’re providing.” hope to provide.”
Another US official previously told Reuters that the new weapons package was likely to be roughly the same size as the $800 million announced last week, but details were still being worked out.
On Wednesday, Biden called on US military leaders to an annual White House gathering that took on special significance as the war enters a risky new phase.
Beginning the meeting, Biden pointed to the toughness of Ukraine’s military and said that NATO unity has stunned Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia has said it has entered a new phase of its operation and is trying to “liberate” the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Western allies predict that Russia’s campaign could last several months, grinding the deadlock and testing the battlefield capabilities of Ukrainian fighters.
Russia says it launched what it called a “special military operation” on February 24 to demilitarize and “demilitarize” Ukraine. Kyiv and its Western allies dismiss this as a false pretext.
US forces are not fighting in Ukraine, but are engaged in arming, training and funding their military indirectly.
The US aid announced last week included artillery systems, artillery rounds, armored personnel carriers and unmanned coastal defense boats, broadening the scope of materiel shipped to Kyiv to include new types of heavy equipment.
If this week’s aid package is bigger than expected, it would bring the total US military aid to Ukraine as Russia invaded by more than $3 billion.
Following Biden’s announcement, he is to fly to the Pacific Northwest on a two-day trip to promote his domestic agenda.
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