NATO allies provide Ukraine with weaponry, financial supports
Some of the NATO allies including the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany on Saturday announced a series of decisions to provide weaponry and financial supports to Ukraine amid the ongoing "special military operation" launched by Russia.
On Saturday evening, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on phone, in which Johnson updated Zelensky on the progress of the British government's assistance to Ukraine.
Both sides agreed to welcome the increased willingness to take action to exclude Russia from the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) payment system.
The two also expressed their concerns over Belarus's role in the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
According to the British Ministry of Defence on Saturday, a new batch of British military forces, including naval ships, army units and air force fighter jets, have arrived in East Europe to reinforce NATO's eastern front.
Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace said the deployments, along with NATO allies, would constitute a "deterrent" against the Russian military action.
On Friday evening, Wallace held an online donor meeting with officials from more than 25 other countries, including the United States, Canada and some countries outside NATO, to coordinate military aid to Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Saturday that the United States is offering 350 million U.S. dollars' worth of "lethal defensive" weapons to Ukraine to help defend itself against the ongoing Russian military operations.
Blinken said in a statement that U.S. President Joe Biden has authorized him to decide on such a move. As such, he has authorized the Department of Defense to carry out the presidential drawdown, which will help Ukraine cope with "the armored, airborne, and other threats it is now facing."
The secretary of state said the latest sum was on top of the 60-million-dollar and 200-million-dollar immediate military aid to Ukraine that Biden delegated to him last year, bringing total U.S. security support to Ukraine over the past year to more than 1 billion U.S. dollars.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on social media on Saturday that Germany would provide Ukraine with 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 "Stinger" class surface-to-air missiles. He said Germany "has a responsibility to support Ukraine as much as it can against Russian forces".
German government Spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said the weapons would be delivered as soon as possible to support the Ukrainian army.
The move marks a significant change of course for Germany, which had previously maintained a policy of not sending arms to conflict zones and refused to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine.
Germany had previously provided Ukraine with only about 5,000 military helmets and a field hospital, a move that was derided by German allies.
The German Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that Germany has approved the delivery of 400 rocket-propelled grenade launchers from The Netherlands to Ukraine, and the approval has been confirmed by the Chancellery. The rocket-propelled grenades came from the stockpiles of the German military.