The United States has rolled out several rounds of assistance to Ukraine in recent weeks, as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the country has dragged on for 55 days and Ukrainian forces have remained largely successful in repelling the Russian invaders.
Following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s impassioned address to Congress last month, the administration announced $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine. When Biden traveled to Europe the next week, he announced an additional $1 billion in humanitarian assistance.
Biden also told Zelenskyy in a call last month that the United States would provide Ukraine with an additional $500 million in budgetary aid, and the White House’s budget plan includes $682 million to help Ukraine fight Russia.
But after retreating from around the capital of Kyiv in northern Ukraine, Russian forces are now launching a new assault in the Donbas — an offensive that U.S. and Ukrainian officials have warned about repeatedly this month.
“Now we can already state that the Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas,” Zelenskyy said in a video address Monday, adding that a “significant part of the entire Russian army is now concentrated on this offensive.”
A senior Defense Department official also said on Tuesday that “some limited offensive operations” had begun in the region, which is home to two breakaway areas largely held by Moscow-backed separatists: the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic.
At the same time, Russian forces are continuing to conduct “shaping operations” in eastern Ukraine, and the current attacks “are preludes to larger offensive operations” in the Donbas, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In a call on Tuesday with U.S. allies and partners, Biden and fellow world leaders discussed “international support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, including the ongoing provision of security, economic, and humanitarian assistance,” according to a White House readout. They also discussed “their coordinated efforts to impose severe economic costs to hold Russia accountable.”