Chris Lange, FISM News
President Joe Biden approved $3 million in new military aid for Ukraine Wednesday. The package, which includes additional drone munitions and several other weapons, marks the 39th drawdown of Defense Department equipment for Ukraine since August 2021.
“Russia has continued to wage a brutal, completely unprovoked war against Ukraine, launching yet more airstrikes and bombarding Ukrainian cities across the country,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday at a White House briefing.
“In response, the United States is going to continue to help give them things that they need to better defend themselves,” he said.
U.S. officials have denied that any American-made drones were used in a spate of recent attacks on Moscow, which the Kremlin blamed on Ukraine. Kyiv officials denied any responsibility.
Kirby said the U.S. has made it clear to Ukraine that American-made weapons are not to be used in attacks inside Russian territory but said such decisions ultimately lie with Kyiv’s military command.
“We don’t tell them where to strike. We don’t tell them where not to strike … Ultimately President Zelenskyy and his military commanders decide what they’re going to do from a military perspective,” Kirby said, adding that Washington has been “very clear with the Ukrainians privately, we’ve certainly been clear publicly, that we do not support attacks inside Russia.”
The new aid package is geared toward boosting Ukraine’s air defense capabilities with munitions for Patriot missile batteries, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), and Stinger and Avenger air defense systems. The package also includes additional artillery and anti-armor capabilities as well as precision aerial munitions, among other items, according to the Pentagon.
The Biden administration has committed more than $37.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
CHILD AMONG THREE KILLED IN LATEST RUSSIAN MISSILE ATTACK
Ukrainian officials said that at least three people were killed Thursday, including a 9-year-old child, in the latest pre-dawn Russian missile attack on Kyiv.
The officials said that Ukrainian air defenses shot down all 10 cruise and ballistic missiles launched by Russia in the attack but said that the falling debris caused the deaths and injured 16 others, according to the Associated Press.
Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska spoke out against the attack on social media.
“Children’s Day has to be about safe childhood, summer, life … But today it is about new crimes of [Russia] against children,” she wrote in a tweet. “A 9-year-old girl was killed in the shelling of Kyiv, and another is now in the hospital. It is a pain for all of us, our thoughts are with their families.”
A health clinic, apartment buildings, and a water pipeline were damaged in the attack.
ZELENSKYY DELIVERS SURPRISE COMMENCEMENT SPEECH TO JOHNS HOPKINS GRADS
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a surprise commencement address to Johns Hopkins University’s graduating class last week.
Grads leaped to their feet in a standing ovation when Zelenskyy appeared on a huge screen during the ceremony held at Baltimore’s Homewood Field. In his 10-minute, live-streamed address, the Ukrainian leader stressed the importance and value of time.
“Time is the most valuable resource on the planet,” he said. “Some people realize this sooner, and these are the lucky ones. Others realize it too late when they lose someone or something.”
Zelenskyy sought to link the futures of the graduating class to those of their Ukrainian contemporaries, noting that young adults on the frontlines also “dream” of earning college degrees.
He also impressed upon the crowd that the decisions they make will have an impact on freedom and democracy for future generations, saying that “the tomorrows of our children and grandchildren depends on each of our todays.”
“I’m certain you, as your forefathers did, will continue to lead the free world and [that] this century will be our century,” he continued. “A century where freedom, innovation, and democratic values reign. A century where tyrannies that repress their own and seek to enslave their neighbors will vanish from earth once and for all.”