Biden announces $725M in military assistance for Ukraine

President Biden announced a new $725 million defense drawdown to support Ukraine on Friday as Russia conducts a series of missile strikes throughout the country. 

Biden announced the drawdown in a White House release, authorizing Secretary of State Antony Blinken to provide the money for equipment, military education and training. 

Russia has launched hundreds of missiles against Ukraine, targeting its capital of Kyiv and other cities, in recent days following an explosion on a bridge that connects Russia to the Crimean Peninsula, a key supply line for Russian troops. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Ukraine of being behind the explosion, but reportedly said on Friday that additional “massive” strikes against Ukraine are unnecessary “at least for now.” He also said he did not regret initiating the strikes. 

Many of the Russian missiles were aimed at civilian targets. 

The Biden administration had announced a $625 million security aid package earlier this month after Russia held four referendums to annex regions of Ukraine. Both the votes and Russia’s annexations have been condemned by the U.S. and its allies.

The referendums took place in the occupied regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia under the supervision of Russian soldiers.

Ukrainian forces have seen major successes on the battlefield as they continue efforts to retake territory in the northern, southern and central parts of the country. Some of the territory includes areas Russia claims it annexed.