A man stands with a home made placard as Northeast Ukrainian Community groups gather at Grey’s Monument in Newcastle-upon-Tyne to mark the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Ian Forsyth | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – The United States authorized $2 billion in aid to Ukraine on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion Friday, and ramped up sanctions and tariffs on Moscow as it tries to bolster Kyiv’s war effort.
The weapons package announced by the Defense Department includes funding for contracts for HIMARS rockets, drones and counter-drone equipment, mine-clearing devices, 155-millimeter artillery ammunition and secure lines of communication.
President Joe Biden met virtually with leaders of the G-7 and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday morning to mark the occasion, one year after the group first met to discuss aid.
The Biden administration also announced it would sanction more than 200 individuals and entities tied to the Russian war effort, including by targeting the country’s metals and mining sector. The U.S. also said it would ramp up its export controls on Russian goods and increase tariffs on Russia products like metals and minerals.
Biden has been adamant about showing the U.S.’s support for Ukraine as the war drags on into its second year.
The president made a surprise visit to the country’s capital of Kyiv on Monday ahead of his trip to Warsaw, Poland where he delivered a speech marking the anniversary. Biden reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to supporting Ukraine, calling the war an example of authoritarianism against democracy and decrying acts by Russian forces which Biden said constitute war crimes.
Earlier this month, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Andriy Kostin, said that regional authorities have logged more than 65,000 Russian war crimes since Moscow invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago.
Kostin said his teams have also documented more than 14,000 Ukrainian children forced into adoption in Russia.
Before leaving Poland, he met with the leaders of the Bucharest 9, the countries comprising the eastern flank of the NATO alliance, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The leaders agreed to continue support for the war-weary country.
The new U.S. aid funding Friday is through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. Rather than directly send equipment, as is done in a presidential drawdown, garnering the resources through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative allows for the authorization of contracts to procure the needed weaponry and tools.