Ukraine to receive new military aid from US sooner than expected, congressman says during visit to Kyiv

The first batch of U.S. military aid will be delivered to Ukraine “sooner than anyone thinks is possible,” after the final approval, Bill Keating, a Massachusetts Democratic congressman, said during a press conference in Kyiv on April 22, according to a Kyiv Independent reporter.

After months of congressional gridlock, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $61 billion aid bill for Kyiv on April 20, sending the legislation to the Senate, where a vote is expected as early as April 23.

The delays have led to critical shortages in artillery rounds and air defense ammunition, putting an ever-increasing strain on Ukrainian forces.

Unnamed U.S. defense officials told Politico last week that the Pentagon had already prepared shipments of weapons and equipment in anticipation of the bill passing.

Keating, who is also a member of the U.S. House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Armed Services, said that Kyiv might receive some weapons "in days, and some might be in weeks."

"We don't know the schedule, and even if we did, we would not tell anyone because it could affect a strategy in the war," a congressman told the reporters in Mykhailivska Square in Kyiv.

"But the fact is, people should be confident that there is no stone left unturned in terms of getting them here quickly.”

Earlier on April 22, a bipartisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers met with President Volodymyr Zelensky, who had held a call with his American counterpart, Joe Biden. Zelensky discussed with U.S. lawmakers the need for artillery shells, combat aircraft, electronic warfare, and long-range missiles, as well as support for the development of Ukraine's defense industry, the Presidential Office said.

A bipartisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers during a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian officials in Kyiv on April 22, 2024. (Presidential Office)
A bipartisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers during a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian officials in Kyiv on April 22, 2024. (Presidential Office)

"And today's result is that all the agreements on ATACMS for Ukraine are sorted out. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Congress. Thank you, U.S.," Zelensky said in an evening address.

The U.S. first delivered ATACMS missiles to Ukraine in October 2023, following months of deliberation. The package included only the older models with a range of 165 kilometers. Newer variants of ATACMS have a maximum range of around 300 kilometers and have so far not been provided to Ukraine.

In late February, NBC News reported that the White House would be ready to provide Kyiv with longer-range ATACMS missile variants if Congress approved a new funding package.

U.S. Democratic Senator Mark Warner said on April 21 that ATACMS, which can travel up to 300 kilometers, may be ready to ship to Ukraine "by the end of the week."

According to Zelensky, Ukraine's air defense capabilities were a priority at the meeting with the bipartisan delegation amid an uptick in Russian attacks on population centers and energy infrastructure.

"We absolutely need air defense. Once the decision is made, we really need concrete help with this," he added.

Congressmen said that they would continue to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia's all-out war.

"We assured (Volodymyr Zelensky) that we are here, and we stand with Ukraine not just through the war because the war will be over someday. We stand with Ukraine economically, diplomatically, and as a democracy," Keating told the reporters.

Read also: How Johnson came to allow a vote on Ukraine aid after months of delays

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