Biden apologizes to Zelenskiy for monthslong congressional delay in weapons delivery to Ukraine

  • 7 June, 10:54

US President Joe Biden has apologized to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy for monthslong congressional holdup in military assistance to Ukraine, which Russia exploited to make battlefield advances.

Addressing Zelenskiy in Paris on Friday, where the two leaders were attending D-Day commemorations, Biden blamed Republicans for this delay in military aid to Ukraine. “I apologize for the weeks of not knowing what’s going to pass, in terms of funding, because we had trouble getting the bill that we had to pass that had the money from some of our very conservative members who were holding it up, but we got it done,” the Democratic president said. In his first public apology to Ukraine, Biden also announced a new package of $225 million, which includes artillery ammunition, air defense interceptors and other military capabilities.

Biden pledged unwavering support for Kyiv. “I assure you the United States is going to stand with you. We are still in, completely,” he assured Zelenskiy. “You haven't bowed down, you haven't yielded at all, you continue to fight in a way that is just remarkable, is just remarkable- and we’re not going to walk away from you,” Biden went on saying. In turn, Zelenskiy urged Americans to stay with Ukraine like it was during World War II. “How the United States helped to save human lives, to save Europe. And we count on your continuing support in standing with us shoulder to shoulder,” Zelenskiy said.

The meeting between the two leaders follows the D-Day commemoration in Normandy, northern France, on Thursday that was attended by a number of world leaders.  

It should be noted that the United States is by far Ukraine’s biggest wartime supplier in its war against invading Russian forces. Biden in late April approved a $95 billion national security supplemental that included a $61 billion military package for Ukraine in the war against Russia. The bill was delayed due to hesitations among Congressional members who argued that the funding must be spent on domestic problems. During the break in US aid, Russia managed to make gains in parts of Ukraine and launched a fresh offensive in the north of the country in early May. 

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