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The White House on Monday said the United States will continue to provide security and economic assistance to Ukraine, even amid “empty threats” from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who warned of “unpredictable consequences.”
Russia, last week, warned the United States and NATO to stop sending Ukraine “sensitive” weapons or risk “unpredictable consequences.”
RUSSIA WARNS US OF ‘UNPREDICTABLE CONSEQUENCES’ AMID LATEST ARMS SHIPMENT TO UKRAINE: REPORT
When asked Monday what the Biden administration believes those threatened Russian “consequences” could be, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: “We’re not going to comment.”
“I’m not going to speculate on empty threats by President Putin or Russian leadership,” Psaki said Monday during the White House press briefing. “What we have done is exactly what the president said we would do from the beginning.”
Psaki said that it was to provide “significant security assistance, economic assistance and support to the Ukrainian people.”
“And we’re going to continue to do exactly that,” Psaki said.
The threats from Russia came after President Biden notified Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last week that the United States is authorizing an additional $800 million in weapons, ammunition and other security assistance to the country as it fights to defend itself against Russia’s multi-front war.
Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., floated over the weekend that the US military may need to send troops to aid in Ukraine.
The president has maintained that he will not send US troops into Ukraine amid Russia’s multi-front war against the country, and instead, would continue sending military and economic support.
When asked about Coons’ comments, Psaki on Monday called him “a close friend of the president and the administration,” but said that they “just respectfully disagree with his proposal.”
“The president continues to—has no plans to send troops to fight a war with Russia,” Psaki said. “He doesn’t think that’s in our national security interests—in the interests of the American people—and so what our focus has been on has been obviously providing this historic amount of security assistance, military assistance, weapons to the Ukrainians that has helped they effectively fight this war and economic assistance as well.”
“That has been our strategic focus,” Psaki said. “Of course, we support the Ukrainians in every way possible, but the president is not going to fight a war with Russia.”
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION AUTHORIZES ADDITIONAL $800 MILLION IN WEAPONS, SECURITY ASSISTANCE TO UKRAINE
Last month, the Biden administration sent a security package with 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems; 2,000 Javelins, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons and 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems; 100 unmanned drones; 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, and 400 shotguns; more than 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds; 25,000 sets of body armor; and 25,000 helmets. The equipment was transferred directly from the Department of Defense to the Ukrainian military.
RUSSIAN CONVOY HEADS FOR EASTERN UKRAINE, DEFENSE OFFICIAL SAYS WEATHER WILL FORCE TROOPS TO STICK TO ROADS
Security aid is continuing to flow into Ukraine unabated, with senior US defense officials telling Fox News last week that “everything we’re doing in respect to Ukraine is being expedited — everything.”
The Biden administration announced $300 million in security assistance and lethal aid earlier this month, which is separate from the $800 million previously authorized in March. That additional $300 million in aid was expected to be used to buy weapons from defense contractors, an official said.
That aid came after US defense officials warned that a Russian convoy appears to be reinforcing its efforts in Donbas.
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On Monday, Zelenskyy said in a statement that the battle of Donbas has begun.
“No matter how many soldiers are drawn there, we will defend ourselves,” Zelenskyy said Monday. “We will fight. We will not give up anything Ukrainian.”