Sat, 25 Mar 2023

Washington [US], February 8 (ANI): US President Joe Biden on Tuesday (local time) said that America will stand with Ukraine 'as long as it takes' .

Delivering his first major speech to a divided Congress after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, Biden said, "We're gonna stand with you -- as long as it takes," addressing the Ukrainian ambassador to the US, who was in attendance.

"Our nation is working for more freedom, more dignity, more peace -- not just in Europe, but everywhere," he said in his second State of the Union address at the US Capitol.

The US has pledged more than USD 29 billion dollars since the war began between Russia and Ukraine on February 24th, 2022, according to the Pentagon.

Biden announced the latest package worth more than USD 2.17 billion on Friday that includes longer-range missiles for the first time.

Last month, the US committed to providing Ukraine with 31 advanced M-1 Abrams tanks, a decision made in concert with European countries providing German-made Leopard 2 tanks.

It was a reversal of a red line previously held by the US and other Western countries, like Germany. The tanks are powerful new tools, allowing Ukraine to go on the offensive and retake territory seized by Russia, reported CNN.

At the time of the announcement, Biden insisted the tanks should not be viewed by Moscow as an "offensive threat." However, last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the West was threatening Moscow "again" with German-made Leopard fighter tanks, reported CNN.

One thing that still remains off the table for the US is fighter jets. Biden previously answered "no," he would send jets to Ukraine.

US and allied officials say jets would be impractical, both because they require considerable training and because Russia has extensive anti-aircraft systems that could easily shoot them down.

All this comes as Kyiv has ramped up pressure on allies to send more aid and weapons -- especially fighter jets -- ahead of a possible Russian offensive in the spring. Even now, heavy fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, with Russian attacks often targeting civilian targets, reported CNN.

Moreover, US and Western officials are urging Ukraine to shift its focus from the brutal, months-long fight in the eastern city of Bakhmut and prioritize instead a potential offensive in the south, using a different style of fighting that takes advantage of the billions of dollars in new military hardware recently committed by Western allies. (ANI)

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