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Biden announces $625 million in security aid during call with Zelenskyy

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden announced a new $625 million security assistance package for Kyiv during a telephone call Tuesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, according to the White House.

Biden told Zelenskyy that the US will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Ukrainian territory, it said in a statement.

Putin signed agreements last Friday with separatist authorities of the breakaway Ukrainian regions on joining Russia, following referendums on Sept. 23 – 27. The votes come more than seven months into Russia’s war against Ukraine that began Feb. 24.

“President Biden pledged to continue supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from Russian aggression for as long as it takes, including the provision today of a new $625 million security assistance package that includes additional weapons and equipment, including HIMARS, artillery systems and ammunition, and armored vehicles,” said the statement.

Biden also affirmed US’ readiness to impose severe costs on any individual, entity or country that provides support to Russia’s purported annexation.

“He welcomed the success of the agreement that has allowed the safe export of Ukrainian grain to global markets and the need to ensure that continues,” said the White House, referring to an Istanbul grain deal brokered by Türkiye and the UN.

Since the first ship sailed from Ukraine under the deal Aug. 1, more than 260 ships with more than 6 million tons of grain have departed from ports.

“In addition, President Biden noted the ongoing efforts of the United States to rally the world behind Ukraine’s efforts to defend its freedom and democracy, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter,” the statement added.

Biden signed a stopgap spending bill Friday that includes $12.3 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine.

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