The United States will send hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance to Ukraine after President Zelensky made a passionate speech to the United States Congress where he invoked Pearl Harbor and 9/11 and asked American lawmakers to send more lethal aid to the Ukrainian army and to impose a no-fly zone as the war enters its third week.
Zelensky’s address to Congress comes a week after the Ukrainian President made a similar address to the British Parliament and a few weeks after he also talked to the European Parliament at the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Although the Ukrainian president has made repeated requests for the West to implement a no-fly zone over the country, NATO has rejected such a measure as it could put NATO in direct confrontation with Moscow.
Just a few minutes after Zelensky’s speech, the White House announced the authorization of an $800 million military aid package to Ukraine, which will “take the form of direct transfers of equipment from the Department of Defense to the Ukrainian military to help them defend their country against Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion.”
According to the fact sheet provided by the White House, the United States will send 800 stinger anti-aircraft missiles, 2,000 Javelin missiles, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons, 6,000 AT-4 rocket launchers, and over 100 drones. The American government will also send a substantial amount of weaponry designed for the Ukrainian infantry, with the Pentagon authorizing the transfer of 5,000 rifles, 100 grenade launchers, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, 400 shotguns, 25,000 sets of body armor, 25,000 helmets (five times more than what the Germans sent) and over 20 million rounds of ammunition.
Crucially, it was also reported that either the United States or other NATO allies decided to send S-300 air defense systems to Ukraine, according to Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Additionally, it has been reported that the United Kingdom will send highly advanced Startstreak anti-air weapons systems to Ukraine, according to British Defense Minister Ben Wallace.
The newly approved American military help to Ukraine comes a few days after Washington D.C rejected the Polish proposal to send MiG 29 fighter jets to Ukraine, a request that Zelensky has been making for days.
Both Ukrainian and Russian delegations have been discussing a potential ceasefire agreement in Belarus, with both parties signaling cautious optimism over the prospects of a peace deal. The conflict in Ukraine, however, is still raging as Russian soldiers are finding stiff resistance from Ukrainian fighters.