The United States responded Friday to a Russian warning against arming Ukraine by offering a further $400 million in security assistance, as President Joe Biden hosted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a show of unity against Moscow.olaf scolz
Arms deliveries “place a significant burden on the economies of these countries and negatively affect the well-being of citizens of these countries, including Germany,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Washington ignored that warning, announcing the new security package for Kyiv that featured ammunition, including for the Himars precision rocket system that Ukrainian forces have used to devastating effect against Russian troops and supply dumps.
In a display of partnership after friction over supplying tanks to Ukraine, Biden hosted Scholz at the White House for his first trip to Washington since Russia’s invasion.
When they last met, “Russia was amassing its troops” on the border, Biden said in brief remarks to the press, adding the West had vowed to respond and “together we made good on that promise.”
In reply, Scholz said it was important to send a message to Ukraine that “we will continue to (support it) as long as it takes and as long as it necessary.”
The absence of a joint press conference raised questions about remaining difficulties, but the two leaders tried to dispel that impression, and Scholz said the bilateral relationship was “in a very good shape.”
In another show of support for Ukraine, US Attorney General Merrick Garland made a surprise visit to the country on Friday to attend a conference on justice and war crimes.
“The attorney general held several meetings and reaffirmed our determination to hold Russia accountable for crimes committed in its unjust and unprovoked invasion against its sovereign neighbour,” a Justice Department official said.
– Battle for Bakhmut –
Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a video released on Telegram Friday that the group’s units “have practically surrounded Bakhmut, only one road remains” to be captured.
The 61-year-old has regularly posted about the advances of Wagner, his once-shadowy force that has taken center stage in the fight in eastern Ukraine.
He has said in recent weeks that his fighters have seized three villages north of Bakhmut — Yagidne, Berkhivka and Paraskoviivka.