White House seeks for $3.5bn to help Pentagon in Ukraine crisis


Overall request is for $6.4bn to help Ukraine and Eastern European nations

The White House on Friday told Congress that it will need an estimated $6.4 billion in new funding to assist Ukraine as it resists the Russian attack, most of it to bolster the Pentagon.

Since the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, the US has provided Ukraine with more than $2.7bn in security assistance, including about $650 million last year. The defensive aid includes Javelin anti-tank missiles, which Kiev has utilised in fending off Russian pushes into Ukraine.

Of the new assistance, $3.5bn would go to the Pentagon to respond to the crisis. READ MORE US and its allies step up sanctions on Russia after Ukraine invasion

The other $2.9bn would go towards humanitarian and security needs for Ukraine, the Baltic countries, Poland and other neighbours of Ukraine. It would be used for humanitarian and food aid, refugee assistance as well as towards energy and economic stabilisation, an administration official said.

“I have ordered the deployment of additional forces to augment our capabilities in Europe to support our Nato allies,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. He added that he welcomed the activation of elements of Nato’s Response Force “to strengthen our collective posture”.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the US will also send more troops into Europe. The total number of those deployed will be between 10,000 and 12,000, the Pentagon said, up from the 8,500 that the US had planned for in January.

A solemn welcoming ceremony of US soldiers at Adazi military base, Latvia, on February 25, 2022. More than 300 soldiers of the 173rd Air Force Brigade arrived to demonstrate the US commitment to defend Nato allies and strengthen Latvia's defence capabilities following Russia's military operation in Ukraine. EPA
US paratroopers in Ukraine's western Lviv region during a Nato-sponsored training exercise in 2020. AP
A US military aircraft takes off at the US Air Base Ramstein, in Landstuhl, Germany, on February 25. US President Joe Biden February 24 authorised the deployment of further armed forces to Germany as part of Nato's response to Russia's military aggression on Ukraine. EPA
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on February 25. EPA
A convoy of British armoured vehicles of the Royal Welsh Battlegroup on the way to Estonia, driving through Liepupe, Latvia, on February 25.  British troops and equipment are heading to Estonia as part of the UK's contribution to strengthen Nato's uplift to Eastern Europe. EPA
Protesters outside a Nato leaders virtual summit in Brussels on February 25. AP
A US  Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft assigned to the 34th Fighter Squadron receives fuel from a KC-10 Extender aircraft over Poland on February 24.   US   Air Force/Reuters
US military personnel check an Apache attack helicopter AH-64 during a technical stop on the tarmac at Traian Vuia International Airport in Timisoara, Romania, on February 24. EPA
German soldiers of the Nato enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) Battalion Battle Group in Lithuania attend a ceremony during a visit of German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht to Rukla Military Base, Lithuania, on February 22. EPA

A solemn welcoming ceremony of US soldiers at Adazi military base, Latvia, on February 25, 2022. More than 300 soldiers of the 173rd Air Force Brigade arrived to demonstrate the US commitment to defend Nato allies and strengthen Latvia’s defence capabilities following Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. EPA

The Pentagon said Russia is facing more resistance than Moscow initially expected in its attack on Ukraine and claimed Moscow has lost some of its momentum.

“We do assess that there is greater resistance by the Ukrainians than the Russians expected,” a US defence official said.

Ukraine’s command and control of its military “remains intact”, the official added.

The White House earlier said the US would join European allies in imposing sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The announcement came after Mr Biden spoke with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“In alignment with the decision by our European allies, the United States will join them in sanctioning President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov and members of the Russian national security team,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

State Department spokesman Ned Price reiterated that if Mr Putin escalates the situation, Washington would do the same.

“We have not seen any indication that Mr Putin is prepared to de-escalate. We have not seen any indication that he is willing to create the conditions in which diplomacy can succeed,” he said.

Mr Price added that Ukrainian soldiers had shown considerable courage in facing off against Russian forces.

“We have seen Ukrainian soldiers demonstrate incredible bravery in the first day of self-defence, shooting down Russian aircraft firing tanks and holding many of the positions while under violent assault.”

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