President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the United States will send Ukraine another tranche of military aid worth $800 million that includes helicopters, artillery systems and rounds, and armored personnel carriers.
The president spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for nearly one hour Wednesday afternoon, just one day after telling reporters in Iowa that he had seen sufficient "evidence" to declare Russian action in Ukraine a "genocide."
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"As Russia prepares to intensify its attack in the Donbas region, the United States will continue to provide Ukraine with the capabilities to defend itself," Biden said in a statement. "This new package of assistance will contain many of the highly effective weapons systems we have already provided and new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine."
The president added that the "steady supply of weapons the United States and its Allies and partners have provided to Ukraine has been critical in sustaining its fight against the Russian invasion" but claimed that the West "cannot rest" in its support of Zelensky and the "brave Ukrainian people."
Zelensky had consistently petitioned Biden and other Western leaders to supply Ukraine with more weaponry to fight off the Russian invasion. Zelensky asked for more fighter jets, which Biden and NATO leaders had declined to provide to prevent escalating tensions with Russia.
However, on Tuesday, Biden referred to Russia's military action as "genocide" during a speech on bioethanol and again when asked for clarification by reporters.
"Yes, I called it genocide," he said. "It has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being able to be Ukrainian."
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"It’s different than it was last week. More evidence is coming out of the literally horrible things that the Russians have done in Ukraine, and we're going to only learn more and more about the devastation," Biden continued. "We'll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me."