Biden Apologizes to Zelensky for Aid Delays, Pledges $225M in New Support

US President Joe Biden has apologized to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for delays in military aid and pledged $225 million (£191 million) in new support. According to BBC

The two leaders met for talks in Paris, following their attendance at the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. The new aid package from the US Department of Defense will include ammunition and anti-aircraft missiles.

Biden attributed the previous delays to some Republicans in Congress but reaffirmed US support for Ukraine, stating, “The United States will stand with you. You haven’t bowed down. You haven’t yielded at all. You continue to fight in a way that is just remarkable, just remarkable.”

Zelensky emphasized the importance of the US-Ukraine relationship in the fight against Russia, expressing his reliance on continued US support: “We count on your continuing support in staying with us shoulder to shoulder.”

Following his meeting with Zelensky, Biden delivered a passionate speech at Pointe Du Hoc in Normandy, honoring the sacrifice of US Army rangers during the D-Day landings.

He drew parallels to the current conflict, saying, “Does anyone doubt that they would want America to stand up against Putin’s aggression here in Europe today? As reported by AP News, They’re asking us to do our job: to protect freedom in our time, to defend democracy, to stand up to aggression abroad and at home.”

Earlier, Zelensky addressed the French parliament, lamenting that Europe was “unfortunately no longer a continent of peace” due to the conflict with Russia. He also expressed hope for a resolution from a forthcoming summit in Switzerland.

During his visit, Zelensky met with French President Emmanuel Macron, who announced that France would send Mirage 2000 fighter jets to Ukraine and train Ukrainian pilots, with training expected to start this summer and be completed by the end of the year. Reuters says

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded, saying Macron’s comments indicated a willingness to take a “direct” role in the Ukraine conflict. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow could arm other countries to target the West, criticizing the delivery of long-range weapons to Ukraine.

He did not specify which countries might receive Russian weapons. Several countries, including the US, have authorized Ukraine to strike targets within Russia.