U.S. pledges billions to Ukraine as fighting against Russia intensifies
By Stefan J. Bos
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he will notify Congress that the United States wants to send another $2 billion in long-term military aid to Ukraine and 18 other countries at risk of Russian attacks.
He spoke in Ukraine's capital Kyiv while defense ministers of allied nations discussed how to step up their support for Ukraine, where the Russian invasion has entered its seventh month.
Besides the two billion dollars announced in Kyiv, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pledged further military support for Ukraine.
He told defense ministers at the Ramstein Airbase in Germany that U.S. President Joe Biden approved $675 million to bolster Ukraine's defenses and its efforts to reclaim territory occupied by Russian forces. With the latest aid, the total U.S. assistance to Ukraine would reach $13.5 billion since the large-scale Russian invasion in February.
Austin says it's part of broader international efforts to halt Russia's aggression against Ukraine. "Now, we're seeing the demonstrable success of our common efforts on the battlefield," he said.
"And every day, we see the resolve of the allies and partners worldwide who are helping Ukraine resist Russia's illegal, imperial, and indefensible war of conquest," Austin added.
He met the so-called Ukraine Defense Contact Group, attended by the Secretary General of the NATO military alliance, Ukraine's defense minister, and ministers from allied countries.
They gathered as Kyiv claimed progress in its counteroffensive against Russia's military. It also admitted attacking targets in the Crimea peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
But as the clashes intensify, so does human suffering. The U.S. has accused Moscow of forcibly deporting up to 1.6 million Ukrainians to Russia or Russian-controlled territory.
They are allegedly subjected to a "filtration" process involving invasive security screening, interrogation, family separation, and detention.
Washington says among those deported are thousands of children — including 1,800 in July. Some were allegedly separated from their parents and placed up for adoption by Russians.
Moscow has denied the accusations, calling them propaganda by Ukraine and its Western backers.