‘Lethal’ U.S. Military Aid Begins Arriving in Ukraine

U.S. military aid to help Ukraine defend against a possible invasion by Russia has began arriving on Friday night.

‘Lethal’ U.S. Military Aid Begins Arriving in Ukraine
An archive picture of the Ukrainian national flag flies outside the Ukraine central bank in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photographer: Vincent Mundy/Bloomberg)

U.S. military aid to help Ukraine defend against a possible invasion by Russia began arriving on Friday night, according to the American Embassy in Kyiv.

The embassy, in a Twitter post, said the material “includes close to 200,000 pounds of lethal aid, including ammunition for the front line defenders of Ukraine.”

“The shipment - and $2.7 billion USD since 2014 - demonstrates U.S. commitment to helping Ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of growing Russian aggression,” the embassy said in another tweet. 

Photos with the tweets showed large green containers being unloaded at an airport. The embassy did not elaborate, or indicate what else was included, but said it was a first shipment of “assistance recently directed by” President Joe Biden.

The announcement was made at the end of an anxious week in which an assault on Ukraine by Russia seemed more likely. A meeting in Geneva led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov didn’t yield an agreement, though both sides agreed to continue talks. 

‘Lethal’ U.S. Military Aid Begins Arriving in Ukraine

“If Russia wants to begin to convince the world that it has no aggressive intent toward Ukraine, a very good place to start would be de-escalating,” Blinken said Friday at the end of a three-day European trip.

Russia has assembled a large armed force on its border with Ukraine and sent troops and armor to Belarus, to Ukraine’s north, for joint military drills scheduled to begin Feb. 10.

Putin has demanded security guarantees that would prevent Ukraine from ever joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and require the alliance to roll back its forces to positions they held in 1997, before Central and Eastern European nations joined NATO. 

The U.S. and its NATO allies have rejected those demands. Putin has said he has no plans to invade Ukraine. 

Biden plans to meet with his national security team over the weekend at the presidential retreat at Camp David, in Maryland. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that “we didn’t expect any breakthroughs to happen today, but we are on a clearer path in terms of understanding each other’s concerns.” 

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