US Congress to provide $600 mn weapons assistance to Ukraine

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday authorised “a special military operation” in Donbass. Ukraine confirmed that military targets across the country were under attack…reports Asian Lite News

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to provide Ukraine with “lethal defense weapons” worth $600 million to help Kiev defend itself against military attack from Russia.

Earlier in the day, US President Joe Biden announced further economic sanctions against Russia, as well as the deployment of additional US troops to Europe, Xinhua news agency reported.

Biden reiterated that no US forces will be sent into Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday authorised “a special military operation” in Donbass. Ukraine confirmed that military targets across the country were under attack.

“Our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. We are not going to impose anything on anyone by force,” Putin said in a televised speech to the nation, noting that Russia’s move was in response to “fundamental threats” from NATO, which has expanded to eastern Europe and brought its military infrastructure closer to Russian borders.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has expressed hope that India would be in “sync” with the US on Ukraine.

Asked at a news conference on Thursday, if India, a major defence partner, was in “sync” with the US on Russia and Ukraine, Biden said, “We’re going to be”.

He added, “We’re in consultation with India today; we haven’t resolved that completely”.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken called External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday to speak about strong collective action against Russia, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said.

Price said that “Blinken stressed the importance of a strong collective response to condemn Russia’s invasion and call for an immediate withdrawal and ceasefire” when discussing “Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine”.

Jaishankar tweeted afterwards, “Appreciate the call from @SecBlinken Discussed the ongoing developments in Ukraine and its implications”.

Biden unveiled a series of economic and strategic sanctions on Russia at his news conference declaring, “This is going to impose severe cost on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time”.

In retaliation for the Russian invasion of Ukraine ordered by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin early Thursday morning, Biden said that the US and its allies would blunt Moscow’s ability to participate in global trade by cutting off its ability to use dollars, euros, pounds and yen.

As Russian forces attacked key sites in Ukraine and its troops entered that country and engaged with Ukrainian forces, Biden said: “Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences”.

Biden’s sanctions taken in coordination with its allies, target Russia’s banking sector, its hi-tech industries and its defence.

But Biden ruled out sending troops to help the Ukrainians, but said US forces would be going to NATO allies in the East. (with inputs from Arul Louis)

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