Biden Reportedly Holding Back Larger Military Aid to Ukraine to Use as ‘Leverage’ Against Russia
As numerous Western reports have been fueling the "Russian invasion" narrative, accusing Moscow of amassing troops near its border with Ukraine, NBC News reported on Friday that Washington had prepared $200 million in military assistance to Kiev but postponed delivery to give more time to resolve the ongoing crisis.
US President Joe Biden is holding back significant additional military aid
to Ukraine to allow more time for diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions at the border between Ukraine and Russia, reported NBC News.
Furthermore, the US assistance that Kiev has been seeking may be wielded as leverage in the case of the alleged Russian attack on Ukraine, said sources cited by the outlet.
Amid claims of a purportedly mulled "Russian invasion" into the neighbouring country, the publication reported on Friday that the administration of US President Joe Biden had prepared $200 million in military aid to Kiev. However, Washington allegedly postponed delivery in order to allow for diplomatic options to be exhausted in defusing tensions.
A number of other options on the table include a “much larger package” of aid for Ukraine in the event of a sharp escalation of the situation, a source added.
According to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden had informed
Russian President Vladimir Putin during their Tuesday video call that if Russia launched an “attack” on Ukraine America would impose tough sanctions on Moscow, besides sending more military aid to Kiev.
“We would provide additional defensive materiel to the Ukrainians above and beyond that which we are already providing,” said Sullivan.
At this point, Sullivan was referring to this reportedly much greater package of potential aid, not the $200 million shipment, claimed the source.
The smaller package “has been on the president’s desk for roughly three to four weeks,” added one of the sources briefed on the matter and cited by NBC.
It was not clarified what the proposed $200 million aid package includes. Kiev sought assistance in air defence systems, anti-ship missiles, Javelin anti-tank missiles, electronic jamming gear, radar systems, ammunition, upgraded artillery munitions and medical supplies, claimed the report. Officials in Kiev were said to be both puzzled and concerned as to the delay in shipments from the US. “There is slight frustration over this,” said another cited insider.
There has not yet been any comment either from the White House or Ukrainian officials to the report.
This comes as a bipartisan group of 22 House lawmakers penned a letter
to President Biden on Wednesday calling on the administration to speed up military aid to Ukraine.
“To maximise deterrence, it is critical that at least some military aid — Stingers, Javelins, drones, and anti-ship missiles — are provided immediately. The Ukrainian state must be equipped with the tools necessary to defend itself and the region against Russian aggression,” wrote lawmakers.
In a commentary published
Friday in Foreign Affairs, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said:
“We have our own capable military forces in Ukraine, and we don’t expect Western countries to put boots on the ground. We do, however, need more weapons to be able to defend ourselves. Everything counts, from ammunition to medical equipment, but we are in particular need of air and missile defences."
Over the past several weeks, Kiev and some Western countries have lobbed accusations
at Moscow of amassing troops near its border with Ukraine, purportedly in anticipation of a "Russian invasion.”
Moscow, for its part, rejected the accusation
s and alleged that it was NATO "that was undertaking dangerous attempts to gain a foothold on Ukrainian territory, and building up its military capabilities along the Russian border”.