White House pledges more support for Ukraine’s ‘success on the battlefield’

White House pledges more support for Ukraine’s ‘success on the battlefield’

The White House on Monday cheered Ukraine’s resolve as it regains territory in a counteroffensive against Russian invaders.

Officials refused to say, however, whether President Biden is worried Russian President Vladimir Putin will lash out or use unconventional weapons.

“I can’t speak to Russia’s intention, that’s for them to speak to,” Mr. Biden’s press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, told reporters on Air Force One.”We’ll leave it to Ukrainians to describe their operations. It’s clear they are fighting hard to defend their country and take back territory.”

Mr. Biden has secured over $13 billion in security assistance for Ukraine from Congress but he requested nearly $13 billion more as lawmakers debate a short-term spending bill.

“We’re going to just continue to support their need to succeed on the battlefield, that has been our goal,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.

Ukrainian forces have regained territory in the east at a startling speed over the past 48 hours, particularly around Kharkiv. Some military estimates said Ukrainian forces regained over 1,000 square miles during the counter-offensive.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s military has won plaudits for its resolve. They are gaining ground with the support of advanced weaponry from the U.S. and other western nations.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, meanwhile, is scheduled to meet with Mr. Putin in the coming days. It is his first trip outside of China in two years. 

The trip will be closely watched for whether the leaders, both skeptical of the west, shore up their ties and how Mr. Xi reacts to Russia’s dwindling fortunes in Ukraine.

“We’ve made clear our concerns about the depth of China’s alignment and ties with Russia even as Russia prosecutes a war of aggression in Ukraine,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.