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Biden apologizes to Zelensky for delay in weapon shipments

Biden apologizes to Zelensky for delay in weapon shipments

Biden apologizes to Zelensky for delay in weapon shipments

Biden apologizes to Zelensky for delay in weapon shipmentsBiden apologizes to Zelensky for delay in weapon shipments

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  • US President Joe Biden apologized to Ukraine for a holdup in American military assistance.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed for bipartisan US support.
  • The US is Kyiv’s biggest supplier of wartime support, and Ukraine is attempting to fend off an intense Russian areas.
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On Friday, US President Joe Biden publicly apologized to Ukraine for a monthslong holdup in American military assistance that allowed Russia to make gains on the battlefield. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed for bipartisan US support “like it was during World War II.”

Speaking in Paris, where they both attended ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, Biden apologized to the Ukrainian people for the weeks of uncertainty about whether more assistance would arrive, while conservative Republicans in Congress held up a $61 billion military aid package for Ukraine for six months.

Still, the Democratic president insisted that the American people were standing by Ukraine for the long haul, declaring, “We’re still in. Completely. Thoroughly.”

Zelensky urged all Americans to support his country’s defense against Russia’s invasion, and he thanked lawmakers for eventually coming together to approve the weapons package, which has enabled Ukraine to stem Russian advances in recent weeks.

“It’s very important that in this unity, United States of America, all American people stay with Ukraine like it was during World War II,” Zelensky said. “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.”

The United States is by far Kyiv’s biggest supplier of wartime support, and Ukraine is attempting to fend off an intense Russian offensive in eastern areas of the country. The push focuses on the Ukrainian border regions of Kharkiv and Donetsk, but Ukrainian officials suggest it could expand as Russia’s larger army seeks to capitalize on its advantage.

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The offensive aims to exploit Kyiv’s ammunition shortages and troops along the roughly 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line. The US Congress held up military aid for six months before Biden signed the $61 billion package into law in April, resulting in the shortfall in weaponry.

Zelensky has long been frustrated by the slow delivery of pledged Western weaponry and Biden’s hesitation over supplying more hardware for fear of provoking Russian President Vladimir Putin. This hesitation has caused tension in their relationship.

US officials announced on Thursday that they will send about $225 million in military aid to Ukraine. The latest package includes munitions for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, mortar systems, and an array of artillery rounds.

Amid Russia’s most recent onslaught and with Ukraine’s army reeling, some NATO allies including the US announced last week that they would allow Ukraine to use weapons they deliver to Kyiv to carry out limited attacks inside Russia.

The Kremlin responded furiously to that step, warning that Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II could spin out of control.

On Thursday, Biden and Zelensky, along with European leaders who have supported Kyiv’s efforts in the war, attended the anniversary events of D-Day in Normandy, northern France. Biden pledged, “We will not walk away” from Ukraine, drawing a direct line from the fight to liberate Europe from Nazi domination to today’s war against Russian aggression.

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Ukraine portrays its fight against the Kremlin’s forces as a clash between Western democratic freedom and Russian tyranny. Russia claims it is defending itself against a menacing eastward expansion of the NATO military alliance.

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