Biden tells Zelensky US will give Ukraine $500 million in budget aid

The Hill – by Brett Samuels

The United States will provide $500 million in budgetary assistance to Ukraine as part of its aid to the country in the face of Russia’s invasion, President Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on a call on Wednesday.

Biden and Zelensky spoke over the phone for nearly an hour, the latest communication between the two leaders about the response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The two talked about U.S. efforts to provide military, economic and humanitarian assistance, according to a White House readout.

“The leaders discussed how the United States is working around the clock to fulfill the main security assistance requests by Ukraine, the critical effects those weapons have had on the conflict, and continued efforts by the United States with allies and partners to identify additional capabilities to help the Ukrainian military defend its country,” the White House said in a statement.

“In addition, President Biden informed President Zelenskyy that the United States intends to provide the Ukrainian government with $500 million in direct budgetary aid. He also reviewed the additional sanctions and humanitarian assistance announced last week. President Zelenskyy updated President Biden on the status of Ukraine’s negotiations with Russia.”

The budgetary aid intends to keep the Ukrainian government and economy stable as the Russian invasion enters its second month.

Biden was in Europe last week where he announced the U.S. would provide an additional $1 billion in humanitarian aid to assist with the millions of refugees who have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded more than one month ago.

The U.S. has also provided a total of $1 billion in military aid since the invasion began, supplying Ukraine with anti-tank and anti-aircraft defense systems, small arms and other weapons to defend itself against Russia.

Zelensky has asked western nations for additional support, and the White House readout indicated the Biden administration may provide more defense systems in the days to come.

The call came as Ukrainian and Russian officials gathered in Turkey for peace talks. While there was some initial optimism over agreeing to terms of a ceasefire, U.S. officials voiced skepticism and there were reports Wednesday of fresh Russian attacks.

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