“The idea that we have held back security assistance to Ukraine is nonsense. Just last week — in the run-up to the U.S.-Russia Summit — we provided a $150 million package of security assistance, including lethal assistance,” said press secretary Jen Psaki in a press release Friday.
The response from the White House came hours after Politico reported the Biden administration temporarily halted a military aid package to Ukraine that would have included lethal weapons to address aggressive Russian troop advancements along the Ukraine border earlier this year. The report cited four sources familiar with internal discussions on the matter who claimed the package would be worth up to $100 million.
Psaki said the administration had “now provided the entire amount appropriated by Congress through the Ukraine security assistance initiative.”
The press secretary also restated Biden’s comments two days before the summit in Geneva, in which he said the administration would maintain putting Ukraine “in the position to be able to continue to resist Russian physical aggression.”
Ukraine has been battling Russian-backed separatists in the eastern Donbass region of its country, which provides vital land access to the Sea of Azov and the Crimean Peninsula. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and a protracted war in Ukraine still simmers seven years later.
“We have also prepared contingency funds in the event of a further Russian incursion into Ukraine,” Psaki said.
“As President Biden told President Putin directly, we will stand unwavering in support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the press secretary added.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese
Original Location: Biden White House says report US held back Ukraine aid is ‘nonsense’