New American military aid, warning from Washington to Beijing
Steph Deschamps / June 16, 2022
U.S. President Joe Biden announced Wednesday a billion dollars in additional military aid to Ukraine, Washington also called on its allies to intensify the delivery of weapons to Kiev, struggling against the Russians in the Donbass. At the same time, the United States said it was concerned about China's alignment with Russia, calling on Beijing to stop supporting Russia's invasion of Ukraine to avoid placing itself on the wrong side of history. This warning follows a telephone exchange between the Chinese and Russian leaders during which Chinese President Xi Jinping marked his support for his old friend Vladimir Putin.
The new U.S. military aid was announced by U.S. President Joe Biden during a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky. The Pentagon said it included 18 Howitzers with their transport vehicles and 36,000 rounds of ammunition, as well as two Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers for Ukraine's coastal defense on the Black Sea. - Gratitude - I want to express my gratitude for this support, it is especially important for our defense in the Donbass, President Zelensky was quick to respond in an evening video message.
Ukraine is facing a pivotal moment on the battlefield, said U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin earlier today at a meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels of the contact group countries created by the United States to help Ukraine. We must therefore intensify our joint commitment and redouble our efforts so that it can defend itself, he added. Nearly 50 defense ministers - including Ukrainian Minister Oleksiï Reznikov - attended the meeting, which took place on the sidelines of a NATO ministerial meeting. A meeting eagerly awaited by Kiev, which has been calling for weeks for heavy weapons in quantity to push back the Russian forces in the Donbass basin.
After the meeting, U.S. Chief of Staff General Mark Milley assured that, in some cases, Ukraine had received more tanks and artillery than requested. And the first ten long-range artillery systems would be on the front lines in the coming weeks after the first Ukrainian troops were trained to use them, he said. If they use this weaponry properly (), they should be able to hit a significant amount of targets, and that will make a difference, General Milley added. Since their aborted offensive on Kiev in March, Russian and pro-Russian separatist forces, who have partially controlled this industrial region since 2014, have set their sights on taking full control. Ukraine must get everything it needs to win, Zelensky hammered in a teleconference with Czech MPs. He reiterated that the invasion of Ukraine was only a first step for Moscow, which intends to take over its former Soviet-era satellites.
Wrong side of history - In the face of this Western call to step up military aid to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin got a show of support from his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday. China is willing to continue mutual support with Russia on issues of sovereignty, security, as well as other issues of fundamental interest and major concerns, Xi was quoted as saying by the New China news agency, which did not link the remarks to any specific examples such as Ukraine or Taiwan. The Kremlin said the two leaders agreed to expand cooperation in energy, finance, industry, transportation and other areas, taking into account the global economic situation that has become more complicated due to illegitimate Western sanctions. They also discussed the development of military and military-technical relations, according to the Russian presidency, describing the exchange as warm and friendly.