After the missile strikes, Biden promised Ukraine advanced air defense systems

Providing the United States with Air Defense, Including Advanced Missile Systems, Following the Decay of Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine

President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday after a deluge of Russian missiles targeted cities across Ukraine, condemning the strikes and pledging continued US security assistance “including advanced air defense systems.”

President Biden attacked Russian President Putin in his State of the Union speech last year for his handling of the situation in Ukraine.

A second senior administration official provided the following summary of air defense aid provided to the Ukrainians from the US. We enabled our Allies to transfer air defense systems of their own to Ukraine – including Slovakia’s transfer of a critical S-300 system in April. And in August, President Biden announced a new assistance package for Ukraine that included orders for 8 new NASAMS—National Advanced Surface to Air Missile Systems. We will continue to give the Ukraine what it needs.

As of a Department of Defense briefing in late September, the US had yet to deliver NASAMS to Ukraine. At the time, Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said two systems were expected to be delivered in the next two months, with the remaining six to arrive at an undetermined date.

Russia launched a total of 84 cruise missiles against targets across Ukraine on Monday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a Facebook post.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the strikes were a response to the acts of terrorism by Ukranian people. He referred to the explosion on the Kerch Bridge as one of the crimes that he said were committed by the Ukrainian special services.

Kuleba said that such claims were “nonsense,” writing in a tweet, “Putin is desperate because of battlefield defeats and uses missile terror to try to change the pace of war in his favor.” Russia has been planning a massive missile attack on Ukraine since last week, said a statement from the Ukrainian defense intelligence agency on Monday.

The deputy head of Russia’s Security Council recently stated that he thought Moscow should aim for the complete dismantling of Zelensky’s regime.

The National Security Council will likely be announcing additional support packages for Ukraine in the very near future, according to John Kirby.

“It’s clear that he’s feeling the pressure both at home and overseas, and how he reacts to that only he can say,” Kirby told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

Last week, Biden delivered a stark warning about the dangers of Putin’s nuclear threats, invoking the prospect of “Armageddon.” But multiple US officials have said the comment was not based on any new intelligence about Putin’s intentions or changes in Russia’s nuclear posture.

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meets the United States on Wednesday: A Special Moment 10 Months After the War in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will pay a dramatic surprise visit to Washington on Wednesday, using his first trip outside his homeland since it was invaded 300 days ago to rally his top international partner behind sustained military and economic assistance.

The visit by the Ukrainian leader to Washington, expected to last only a matter of hours, nonetheless amounts to a remarkable moment 10 months since Russia’s war in Ukraine began.

Zelensky, who the official said was “very keen” to visit the US, determined those parameters met his needs, and the US set to work executing them. The trip was finally confirmed on Sunday.

“Russia will continue to do what Russia does, and we will continue to do what we do. To not be deterred from our support for Ukraine and for Zelensky to not be deterred from traveling as he sees fit to advance his people’s interests is something that is to not be deterred.

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that a quarter of Americans think the United States is giving too much aid to Ukraine. Most of the shift has been done by Republicans.

A senior administration official said the conflict will continue in the days ahead. “The winter will be hard, and we will continue day-in, day-out to provide critical support to the Ukrainian people.”

The new package Biden will unveil has been in the works for over a year and includes a missile system for the Ukrainians to defend against Russian air attacks. CNN reported that the US is expected to send the systems to Ukraine.

Smaller air defense systems require less personnel to operate than the Patriot missile batteries. The training for the missiles takes many months, and the United States will now have to deal with daily attacks from Russia.

The official said US troops would train Ukrainians to use the system in a third country. CNN reported the training would take place at the US Army base in Germany.

The system is one of the most capable long range weapons to defend airspace against incoming missiles as well as some aircraft. Because of its high- altitude and long-range ability, it can shoot down Russian missiles and aircraft far from their intended targets.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to Congress “extraordinary,” saying the country’s fight against Russian aggression has “proven that they are a really good investment for the United States.”

The speech “connected the struggle of Ukrainian people to our own revolution, to our own feelings that we want to be warm in our homes to celebrate Christmas and to get us to think about all the families in Ukraine that will be huddled in the cold and to know that they are on the front lines of freedom right now,” Clinton said on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” Wednesday.

“I hope that they will send more than one,” she added. She said that NATO and the US have hesitated in the past to give advanced equipment to the Ukrainian military, but that they have seen how effective the military is.

Clinton, who previously met Russian President Vladimir Putin as US secretary of state, said the leader was “probably impossible to actually predict,” as the war turns in Ukraine’s favor and his popularity fades at home.

Clinton said that Putin was considering how to get more bodies into the fight in Ukranian and that would be Russian conscripts.

The Biden administration on Friday announced its largest drawdown yet in US military assistance to Ukraine, but there are lurking concerns that Republicans wielding newfound power in Washington could stand in the way of future aid – especially as chaos brews in the House.

Blinken said the administration would work with Congress to “to provide an additional $907 million of Foreign Military Financing under the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022.”

But there’s now concern that McCarthy’s troubled bid for the speakership – a history-defying effort that has led to more than a dozen unsuccessful votes this week – could put further limitations on Ukraine aid.

Several Republican members who switched their votes to support McCarthy on Friday said they are encouraged by a framework of an agreement, but provided no specifics about the deal and said talks are ongoing.

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Democrats worried that additional funding wouldn’t be as forthcoming in a GOP led House, which is why the number was higher than President Joe Biden requested. In some ways, that number was an insurance policy against Republican resistance and the view inside the White House was that that figure would sustain US support for several months.

Rules changes to the budget process could hurt Congress’ ability to pass new aid in September and conservative Republicans have promised to oppose new funding for Ukraine.

It’s feared that certain committee assignments, such as the House Rules Committee, can be given to lawmakers who do not want more aid toUkraine, which could make it hard for them to pass additional assistance legislation.

The diplomat said that the Freedom Caucus is pro-Ukrainian and that it has just demonstrated its clout.

They were keeping an eye on how McCarthy would maneuver to secure the role which could include cuts to aid.

Another diplomat told CNN they’re personally concerned about “the policy concessions McCarthy has to make, and if they are going to affect US role in the world.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday welcomed the latest drawdown, saying it was an “awesome Christmas present for Ukraine!” And lawmakers in Ukraine told CNN they are not concerned that the future of assistance is at risk, noting the strong past bipartisan and public support for aiding their country.

Biden’s message has changed in the year since the conflict began, reflecting the drawn out nature of the conflict itself and domestic politics.

A few members of Congress wore blue and yellow ribbons on their lapels this year. But a year ago, the House chamber was awash in the colors of Ukraine’s flag as lawmakers gave multiple vigorous and bipartisan standing ovations for Biden’s message on the war.

This year, Biden spent less than two minutes discussing the war. He received bipartisan applause when he said that Americans would stand for the defense of democracy.

“Tonight, I say to the Russian oligarchs and the corrupt leaders who’ve bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime: no more,” Biden said a year ago.

“Ambassador, America is supporting your country and we want you to know,” Biden said as he honored Oksana Markarova.

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Republican strategist Ryan Williams said this sentiment has given pause to some Republicans from conservative districts who had supported the war, but are now worried about wider public support among their constituencies.

It’s having an impact on the base. And if that continues to grow, that’s going to potentially be a primary issue for Republicans,” Williams said. “The key is to make sure that that it doesn’t become a big issue with Republicans, a litmus test issue, if you will, that could endanger incumbents who could face conservative primary challengers that may have a difference of opinion.”

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