Biden, Zelensky discuss US support for Ukraine
Stay tuned with 24 News HD Android App
President Joe Biden called his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky Wednesday to update him on "ongoing US support" for Kyiv, with the Pentagon reportedly poised to announce a new multi-million dollar aid package.
Zelensky for his part tweeted that he and Biden had discussed an "additional package of defensive and possible macro-financial aid."
The hour-long conversation came amid US media reports that Washington is set to announce new military assistance that could reach $750 million.
"Stay tuned for additional stuff that we might be able to talk about later on," a senior Pentagon official told reporters when asked about the reports.
"We have said repeatedly that we're going to do as much as we can as fast as we can, and the president was going to keep options open for additional security assistance," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added.
US media reported that the new aid could include heavy equipment that Washington has so far refused to provide to Kyiv for fear of escalating the conflict with nuclear-armed Russia.
Pentagon number two Kathleen Hicks is due to chair a meeting later Wednesday with the heads of the main American defense groups to speed up production of weapons most used by the Ukrainian army.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin "wanted to focus this particular meeting on with CEOs on the... kinds of systems that had been involved in this security assistance program, and making sure that we have a good sense of where industry is in terms of production," the senior official said.
"We have been giving an awful lot of stuff to the Ukrainians. And so it would be the prudent thing to do," the official said.
According to the White House last week, the United States has so far supplied or promised Ukraine: 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, 5,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles, 7,000 other anti-tank weapons, several hundred Switchblade drones, 7,000 assault rifles, 50 million bullets and a range of other equipment.