Washington [US]: Amid the ensuing battle between Russia and Ukraine post-Crimea bridge bombings, the US on Friday announced an additional USD 725 million drawdowns of new military assistance for Ukraine.
“Pursuant to a delegation of authority from the President, I am authorizing our twenty-third drawdown of US arms and equipment for Ukraine since August 2021. This USD 725 million drawdown includes additional arms, munitions, and equipment from US Department of Defense inventories,” read US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement. This drawdown will bring the total US military assistance for Ukraine to an unprecedented more than USD 18.3 billion since the beginning of the Administration.
“We will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and independence with extraordinary courage and boundless determination. The capabilities we are delivering are carefully calibrated to make the most difference on the battlefield for Ukraine. We stand United with Ukraine,” said Blinken.
Notably, the US assistance comes in the wake of Russia’s brutal missile attacks on civilians across Ukraine.
“The mounting evidence of atrocities by Russia’s forces, and the firm and unequivocal rejection by 143 nations at the United Nations of Russia’s illegal attempted annexation of parts of Ukraine, the United States is offering additional military assistance to help Ukraine’s proud defenders protect their country,” added the statement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said that any direct contact or direct clash of NATO troops with the Russian army would lead to a “global catastrophe”.
Addressing the news conference in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, Putin said, “In any case, direct contact, direct clash of (NATO) troops with the Russian army is a very dangerous move which could lead to a global catastrophe. I hope that those who are saying this are smart enough not to take such a step.”
Earlier, Putin had warned that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory after annexing four regions of Ukraine last month, a move which the UN this week condemned.
Putin on Friday also said that for now, there is no need for massive strikes against Ukraine and added that they have acted correctly against Kyiv, Reuters reported.
Addressing the news conference in the Kazakh capital Astana, Putin said, “For now there is no need for massive strikes, there are other goals to achieve for now. Out of I think 29 objectives, seven have not been hit the way the defence ministry planned. They are dealing with them, with these objectives. There is no need for massive strikes. At least for the moment, for now. As for the future – we’ll see,” according to Reuters.
Responding to a query, if he has regrets about invading Ukraine, Putin said, “What is happening today is unpleasant, to put it mildly. But we would have to face the same situation later, in worse conditions for us, that’s it. So, we are acting correctly and on time,” reported Reuters.
Earlier, on Monday, Russia launched several missiles at Kyiv and several other Ukrainian cities, which killed at least 14 people and wounded 97 others, CNN reported citing the Ukrainian State Emergency Service.
In the attack the strikes knocked out the power in the regions of Kyiv, Lviv, Sumy, Ternopil, and Khmelnytsky, CNN reported.
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Russia launched more than 84 missile and air strikes. Ukraine claimed it intercepted 56 of the missiles and drones.