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‘We will speak softly and carry a large Javelin,’ Biden says, as he unveils $800 million in new Ukraine aid

President Joe Biden on Thursday modified a phrase from one of his predecessors as he announced a fresh $800 million in U.S. military aid for Ukraine.

“To modernize Teddy Roosevelt’s famous advice, sometimes we will speak softly and carry a large Javelin, because we’re sending a lot of those,” Biden said, referring to an anti-tank missile system.

An American official had said late Wednesday that Biden was set to send additional military aid to help Ukraine fight back against the Russian invasion. The assistance follows $800 million in U.S. military assistance for Ukraine approved last week.

Biden announced other aid as well on Thursday, such as an additional $500 million in direct economic assistance to the Ukrainian government. The U.S. has now provided a total of $1 billion in such aid over the past two months, he said.

The president unveiled a new “Uniting for Ukraine” program that enables Ukrainians seeking refuge to come directly from Europe to the U.S., and he said the U.S. will ban Russian-affiliated ships from its ports, as Europe has done.

The new refugee program aims to provide a streamlined process for Ukrainian citizens displaced by Russian aggression. Ukrainians must have been residents of their country as of Feb. 11, have a sponsor in the U.S., complete vaccinations and other public health requirements, and pass rigorous biometric and biographic screening and vetting security checks, Biden’s Department of Homeland Security said in a news release.

“Ukrainians should not travel to Mexico to pursue entry into the United States,” the release said.

The president on Thursday said he’s almost exhausted the drawdown authority that Congress authorized for Ukraine in a bipartisan spending bill last month, so next week his administration will be sending “a supplemental budget request to keep weapons and ammunition flowing without interruption.”

Congress authorized $13.6 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine in March.

Last week, one think tank warned that the U.S. could be running low on Javelins, estimating the country probably has given about one-third of its stock to Ukraine.

A Ukrainian serviceman rides atop of an armored personnel carrier with Javelin anti-tank missiles during a military parade in Kyiv in 2018.


AFP via Getty Images

“The United States has supplied Ukraine with thousands of Javelins, the anti-tank missiles that have become the iconic weapon of the war, but the U.S. inventory is dwindling,” said an analysis from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Thus, the United States is approaching the point where it must reduce transfers to maintain sufficient stockpiles for its own war plans. Production of new missiles is slow, and it will take years to replenish stocks.”

Speaking separately to reporters on Thursday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen discussed the American efforts with allies to punish Russia over the Ukraine invasion, even as she warned that a full ban by Europe on Russian energy imports would have negative effects.

“That would clearly raise global oil prices
CL00,
+1.28%

BRN00,
+1.00%
,
” she said.

Related: Europe will end up joining the U.S. with sanctions that target Russia’s energy sector, predicts expert on ‘financial warfare’

U.S. stocks
SPX,
+0.15%

DJIA,
+0.30%

advanced Thursday, as Tesla’s
TSLA,
+6.77%

banner earnings relieved investors a day after Netflix’s
NFLX,
-5.18%

disappointing results. 

MarketWatch’s Robert Schroeder contributed to this report.

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