Biden announces $225m arms package for Ukraine as he meets with Zelensky in France

The US will soon dispatch an arms and aid package to Ukraine amounting to $225million as Kyiv works to repel renewed Russian attacks, President Joe Biden said on Friday.

Biden announced the new tranche of defense assistance in Paris during a meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky, a day after the Ukrainian president joined the US president and other world leaders for ceremonies commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

In remarks at the American cemetery in Normandy during the ceremony, Biden had described Ukraine’s fight against Russia as a modern-day analog of the war against Hitler and Nazism while stressing the importance of beating back isolationist sentiment, providing an implicit contrast with his predecessor and likely 2024 election opponent, former president Donald Trump.

Sitting alongside Zelensky on Friday, Biden again told the Ukrainian leader that the US would “stand with [him]” and praised the country’s resistance to Russia’s invasion, specifically how forces have pushed back on Moscow’s offensive in the city of Kharkiv.

U.S. President Joe Biden shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Paris, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP)
U.S. President Joe Biden shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Paris, Friday, June 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP)

“The way you’ve stood in holding onto Kharkiv, you’ve proven once again that the people of Ukraine cannot and will never be overtaken ... you are the bulwark against the aggression that’s taking place. We have an obligation to be there,” Biden said.

“You haven’t bowed down. You haven’t yielded at all. You continue to fight in a way that is just remarkable, just remarkable.”

“We’re not going to walk away from you,” he added.

Biden also apologized for the months-long delay in approving new aid to Ukraine, caused by Republicans in Congress who opposed the defense assistance at the behest of former president Donald Trump.

“We had trouble getting the bill that we had to pass that had the money in it. Some of our very conservative members were holding it up. But we got it done finally,” Biden said.

The president has repeatedly linked Ukraine’s defense to a broader struggle between democracy and autocracy — a theme which dovetails with the one he has used to describe his re-election fight against Trump. The presumptive Republican nominee has threatened to cut off all aid to Ukraine if he wins the November presidential election.

Zelensky thanked Biden for the continued US support and said it was “very important” for America to stand with Ukraine the way the western allies stood together during the Second World War, “shoulder to shoulder.”

“We are with you, with our strategic partner,” Zelensky said.