Weapons and other equipment
© AFP / Mauricio CampinoWeapons and other equipment bound for Ukraine at the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, US.
President Joe Biden announced a new round of military aid for Ukraine, roughly $1 billion, on Wednesday afternoon. This aid brings the total amount of military aid the United States has provided to Ukraine north of $5.5 billion since Russia invaded at the end of February.

Biden, he said in a statement, informed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by phone that the United States would be providing the additional military aid for Ukraine. The assistance will include "additional artillery and coastal defense weapons, as well as ammunition for the artillery and advanced rocket systems that the Ukrainians need to support their defensive operations in the Donbas," Biden explained.

Comment: Remember why those troops were there in the first place, and have been for the last 8 years: offensive operations against the separatists in the Donbas.

The aid coincides with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin's Defense Contact Group meeting in Brussels with NATO and non-NATO Western ally defense ministers. Nearly 50 of Austin's counterparts attended the in-person meeting, including Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov.

Austin told reporters after the meeting concluded that the aid includes guided MLRS munitions, 18 M777 howitzers, the tactical vehicles to tow them, and 36,000 rounds of 155 millimeter ammunition. The U.S. is also sending two Harpoon coastal defense systems, thousands of secure radios, thousands of night vision devices, and thermal sights under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

In a press conference before the meeting, Austin implored his colleagues to "push ourselves even harder to ensure that Ukraine can defend itself — its citizens and its territory" — while NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg pledged more military aid to Ukraine.

"We are extremely focused on stepping up, providing more support, more advanced weapons ... because we support them in their just fight against the brutal Russian invasion," Stoltenberg said at a press conference. Ukraine will still receive "practical support, lethal and nonlethal support, from NATO allies and NATO" that would allow it "to continue to modernize its armed forces, something NATO allies have worked on for many years but stepped up now."

Comment: You're supporting death squads, and you know it, so spare us the saccharine hyperbole, Stoltenberg.

The announcement came less than 24 hours after Zelensky pleaded publicly that the aid "must come faster if we all live by the same goal," and he added, "We have shown our strength, and now, it is very important that our Western partners show this strength together with us."

The Biden administration has gradually increased the weaponry it is providing to Ukraine despite holding off on sending every item on the Ukrainians' request list, such as fighter jets. Biden's team has also been hesitant to provide weapons to Ukraine that could be used to hit targets within Russia, though it appears that the administration may have softened its stance on the matter.