Biden announces new military package for Ukraine

2024-04-24 17:55:10

Immediately following signing a corresponding law, US President Joe Biden announced a new military package for Ukraine on Wednesday. “In the next few hours” we will begin sending anti-aircraft equipment, artillery, missile systems and armored vehicles to Ukraine, Biden said at the White House on Wednesday. Biden had previously signed the $61 billion (57 billion euros) package approved by Congress.

The new package is not only an investment in the security of Ukraine, but also in the security of Europe. Biden warned that Russia might attack a NATO partner as its next step. “We would have no choice but to come to their aid, just as our NATO allies came to our aid following the September 11 attacks.”

As he signed the legislation with billions in aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, Biden said: “It will make America safer. It will make the world safer.” The aid package requested by Biden’s government had been blocked in the US Parliament for months. It was only as a result of Iran’s major attack on Israel that the opposition Republicans controlling the House of Representatives gave up their negative stance and released the funds on Saturday. Yesterday, Tuesday, the Senate followed suit, wanting to release the aid funds in February.

Because of the blockade in Congress, the USA had practically no longer been able to help Ukraine since the end of the previous year. The package adopted, among other things, provides funds for increasing the number of weapons and ammunition in the US military’s inventory. This money therefore only goes indirectly to Ukraine, since the USA usually equips the country attacked by Russia with equipment from its own stocks – which is often quicker than ordering new ones from industry. Biden has now announced that he will once more send Ukraine military equipment from its own stocks in the new military package.

The rest of the aid package is earmarked for further military support and financial assistance, some in the form of loans. The text of the law also pushes for the delivery of long-range ATACMS missile systems. So far, the USA has officially only delivered ATACMS with a range of around 165 kilometers. However, Ukraine wants systems with a range of 300 kilometers. Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke regarding this in a phone call on Monday.

As a government insider told Reuters on Wednesday, the longer-range missiles have already been secretly delivered. They were used for the first time last week, said the employee, who wished to remain anonymous. On April 17, an airfield in Crimea was shelled. The decision was controversial within the US government for months. The change of opinion came regarding, among other things, because the Russian army was using long-range missiles from North Korea. In addition, Russia would have attacked critical infrastructure such as the energy supply. “We warned Russia regarding these things,” said the government official.

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Biden also signed a law once morest TikTok owner Bytedance into law on Wednesday. As part of the budget resolutions, the US parliamentarians also voted for a law that threatens to ban the video platform TikTok, which is particularly popular among young people. The China-based Bytedance Group is now counting down to a maximum of one year to separate from TikTok. Otherwise, the app should be banned from American app stores. TikTok wants to challenge the law in court.

The law was only passed by the Senate on Wednesday night with a large majority of 79 votes to 18. Bytedance is viewed across all parties in the USA as a Chinese company that must bow to the will of the Chinese Communist Party. That’s why there are warnings that Chinese authorities might gain large-scale access to data from American users – and also use the platform for political influence. TikTok has denied this for years.

It is unclear whether the law can stand up in US courts. An earlier threat to ban it failed there and a similar law in the state of Montana was recently shelved due to possible violations of the freedom of expression enshrined in the US Constitution. TikTok claims to have 170 million users in the USA.

TikTok emphasizes that it does not see itself as a subsidiary of a Chinese company. Bytedance is 60 percent owned by Western investors. The company headquarters are on the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. However, US politicians counter that the Chinese founders maintained control thanks to higher voting rights with a share of 20 percent and that Bytedance’s headquarters are in Beijing, where they cannot escape the influence of the authorities.

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