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Biden Announces New Military Aid in Meeting With Ukraine’s Zelenskyy in Japan

U.S. President Joe Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on May 21, on the sidelines of the G-7 summit of world leaders in Hiroshima, Japan.

At a press conference following their bilateral meeting, Biden announced the United States would provide Ukraine with a new military aid package of up to $375 million.

“The United States continues to help Ukraine respond, recover, and rebuild. We are also supporting peace,” Biden said on May 21 at his first face-to-face meeting with Zelenskyy since he made a surprise visit to Kyiv in February.

The U.S. State Department confirmed the additional U.S. security assistance, which marks the 38th drawdown of U.S. arms and equipment for Ukraine as it continues its fight against Russia after Moscow invaded Kyiv in February 2022.

The United States “will continue to stand with our Ukrainian partners as they defend themselves from Russia’s war of aggression,” the department said in a statement.

“This security assistance package includes additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, artillery ammunition, anti-tank weapons, armored medical treatment vehicles, trucks and trailers to transport heavy equipment, spare parts, and other field equipment essential to strengthening Ukraine’s defenders on the battlefield.

“Russia could end its war today. Until Russia does, the United States and our allies and partners will stand united with Ukraine, for as long as it takes,” he said.

Zelenskyy Denies Bakhmut Was Captured

On. May 21, Zelenskyy was asked by The Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller whether Russia had taken control of Bakhmut, a battlefield city in the eastern Donetsk region that a Russian commander recently claimed was captured by Russians.

“I think no,” Zelenskyy responded. “But you have to understand there is nothing. For today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts. There is nothing on this base.”

He thanked the “defenders” of Bakhmut, adding, “We appreciate them for their great job.”

Solidarity for Ukraine

On May 20, Biden told his G-7 counterparts the United States will support a joint effort to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter aircraft, per a senior U.S. official.

As part of the decision, the United States will permit its Western allies to supply Ukraine with fighter jets, which include U.S.-made F-16s.

Biden previously ruled out the possibility of the United States providing Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets. Ukraine has been pushing its allies for advanced warplanes to help defend its airspace, but the United States and its partners had feared this could lead to further escalation with Russia.

Before Zelenskyy arrived in Hiroshima on May 20, G-7 nations had already unveiled new sanctions against Russia, as well as other measures intended to punish Russia and compromise its fighting abilities.

“Russia’s brutal war of aggression represents a threat to the whole world in breach of fundamental norms, rules, and principles of the international community. We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine for as long as it takes to bring a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace,” the group said in a statement.

G-7 countries are the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, and Italy. Besides Ukraine, the G-7 countries also discussed climate change, artificial intelligence, poverty, economic instability, and nuclear disarmament.

Another major focus of the meetings was China, amid increasing anxiety that the Chinese regime could try to seize Taiwan by force, a scenario that would spark a wider conflict.

The G-7 said they did not want to harm China and were seeking “constructive and stable relations” with Beijing, “recognizing the importance of engaging candidly with and expressing our concerns directly to China.”

They also urged China to pressure Russia to end the war in Ukraine and “support a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace.”

China has indicated it opposes the G7’s joint statement and has complained to summit organizer Japan, the Chinese foreign ministry said on May 20.

Aldgra Fredly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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