On Monday, President Joe Biden promised President Volodymyr Zelensky that Washington will supply Ukraine with advanced air defense systems amid Russia’s ongoing aggression.
The two leaders spoke on the phone shortly after Russia launched its largest-ever airstrike in Ukraine after the bridge that linked Crimea, which it annexed to Russia, was destroyed over the weekend. Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Ukrainian security services of perpetuating the attacks.
Russian air strikes have killed at least 11 civilians and destroyed Ukraine’s power grid, cutting off electricity, water and heat in parts of the country, according to Ukrainian officials.
Kyiv, Lviv, Ternopil and Zhytomyr in western Ukraine, Dnipro and Kremenchuk in the center, Zaporizhia in the south and Kharkov in the east.
According to the White House, in a call Monday, Biden “expressed his condemnation of the Russian missile attacks across Ukraine, including Kyiv, and offered his condolences to the loved ones of those killed and injured in these senseless attacks. did” read out of call.
“President Biden has committed to continuing to provide Ukraine with the support it needs to defend itself, including an advanced air defense system,” the statement said.
“He will also continue to impose costs on Russia, hold Russia accountable for war crimes and atrocities, and continue to engage with allies and partners to provide security, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. emphasized,” the statement added.
The White House did not say exactly which air defense systems Biden said would supply Zelensky, but earlier this year Washington pledged to provide Ukraine with a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS). Did.
These anti-aircraft systems are manufactured by the Norwegian company Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace and are used to protect the airspace around Washington’s White House and Capitol. It can be used to attack Russian cruise missiles.
“Signs” of Russian Weakness
Zelensky’s office statement In a phone call with Biden on Monday, he said the Ukrainian president had informed Washington of “the results of a massive missile attack on civilian infrastructure carried out today by Russian aggressors.”
Zelensky said, “The targeted attacks on civilians across Ukraine are a sign of the weakness of the Russian army, which is losing on the battlefield. According to the statement, it is pure terrorism,” but Ukraine has “betrayed Russia’s missile blackmail.” I will not give in,” he said.
Biden and Zelensky also discussed “the importance of air defense and the continued contribution of the United States to enhancing this capability.”
Russia-Ukraine conflict escalates
The two leaders also discussed “an extraordinary meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) leaders dedicated to Ukraine and the most pressing measures to help Ukraine that the international community can adopt,” according to President Zelensky’s office.
In total, the Biden administration in total $15.8 billion In military aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
The latest air defense system promises to Ukraine as the conflict with Russia continues to escalate.
On Monday, Vladimir Putin’s closest ally, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, said: Said Part of his country’s 60,000-strong army will be deployed near Ukraine along with Russian forces.
Lukashenko said the decision was made because Ukraine was preparing to attack Belarus with the help of its allies Poland and Lithuania, but did not provide any evidence for such claims.
“Attacks on Belarusian territory are not only being discussed in Ukraine today, they are being planned,” Lukashenko said at a conference on security. “Their owners are pressuring them to start a war with Belarus in order to drag us there.”
Following Lukashenko’s announcement, Polish citizens of Belarus had been advised by the government to leave the country as relations between the two countries deteriorated.
Reuters contributed to this report.