WASHINGTON — President Biden marked the beginning of the second year of war in Europe on Friday by announcing billions of dollars in additional military aid for Ukraine, imposing additional sanctions on those assisting Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, and issuing a dire warning about a potential alliance between Iran and Russia.
Mr. Biden joined the leaders of the other Group of 7 nations—CCanada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom—iin reiterating his support for the troubled nation and condemning Russia’s invasion a year ago.
Mr. Biden tweeted about Mr. Putin, “A dictator who wants to rebuild an empire will never be able to get rid of the people’s love of freedom.”Brutality will never be able to break the will of the free.And Russia will never achieve victory in Ukraine. Never.”
The Biden administration has put economic sanctions on more than 200 people and groups in Russia and other countries that it says are helping Moscow fight its war.Also, on Friday, the Pentagon said it would spend $2 billion to give the Ukrainian military new drones, systems to stop drones from flying, and more artillery and long-range rocket ammunition.In an interview with David Muir of ABC News on Friday night, however, Mr. Biden ruled out sending F-16 fighter jets “for the time being.”
The coordinated efforts are a continuation of a year-long campaign to use economic and military tools against Mr. Putin.But the threat of sanctions from the US and its allies did not stop the invasion or force the Russian leader to talk about ending his brutal war.
And on Friday, Mr. Biden’s administration stated that it sees “growing evidence” that Russia may be planning to provide Iran with fighter jets as part of a deepening military relationship, with implications for the Ukraine conflict and Middle Eastern security.
John F. Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, did not provide specific intelligence evidence to support the accusation, but he did say that U.S. officials believe the possible provision of jets to Iran follows artillery round shipments from Iran to Russia.
Iran shipped artillery and tank rounds to Russia in November for use in Ukraine, according to Mr. Kirby. “Russia also intends to work with Iran to acquire even more military equipment.” In exchange, Russia has offered Iran unprecedented cooperation in the defence sector, including missiles, electronics, and air defence.
The announcement comes after the US warned that China might also be thinking about giving Russia military support.
Mr. Biden stated on Friday evening that there was “no evidence of that to date.”
“Xi and I had a lengthy conversation about this in the summer,” he said, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping. I stated, “This is not a threat; this is merely a statement.” Guess what happened when Europeans and Americans witnessed events in Russia and Europe? Six hundred companies withdrew and left. You told me that the future of China depends on investments from the West. That is crucial. I said I’d just keep an eye on it.”
The one-year war, which changed alliances on both sides of the conflict, has had far-reaching effects around the world. One of these effects is that Iran and China might now support Russia.
Mr. Kirby said that there could be big effects on the battlefield if Iran helps Mr. Putin get around Western sanctions that are meant to make it hard for him to equip his forces.Mr. Kirby did say, though, that the partnership worries him about the Middle East, where sending Russian fighter jets to Iran could change the balance of power in the area.
During a virtual meeting with the Group of Seven nations on Friday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky talked about Iran’s possible business with Russia.
Mr. Zelensky said in a statement on the messaging app Telegram that he had given the leaders detailed requests for more help in five areas: arms, sanctions, finances, justice, and unity. He is trying to defend his country and get back territory that the Russians took over the past year.
Mr. Zelensky wrote, “I thanked the partners for their cooperation and assistance throughout the past year.” “We endured. We began to liberate our country from Russian evil. We are experiencing a return to stability in international relations. And we are confident that our coalition of freedom defenders will be victorious in 2023.
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At the same time that Mr. Zelensky and the other leaders said they were working together, the U.S. announced a series of big new steps to help Ukraine on the battlefield and put more economic pressure on Russia.
Officials from the Treasury Department have stated that the sanctions will target more than thirty individuals and organisations in nations other than Russia that are connected to the effort to circumvent existing prohibitions. They include the Moretti procurement network, a trading group led by Swiss-Italian business executive Walter Moretti, according to Treasury officials.
Officials stated that among the targeted companies are those that contribute to the production of carbon fibre, which can be used in military equipment.
Officials from the Treasury say that Russians who couldn’t use large, multinational banking systems often tried to get to their money through smaller banks.The new sanctions will target a number of smaller banks worldwide, according to officials.
The Commerce Department on Friday added 86 companies and organisations to a list that prevents them from purchasing certain U.S. products and technologies, based on allegations that they aided Russia’s war effort or engaged in other activities contrary to U.S. national security interests. The department stated that 79 of the sanctioned entities are based in Russia, while others are located in China, Canada, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
After Iranian drones were found on the battlefield in Ukraine, the department also made it harder to sell technology to Iran.
According to White House officials, the United States will increase tariffs on approximately $2.8 billion worth of Russian metals, minerals, and chemical products and will use tariffs to significantly increase the cost of aluminium that is smelted or cast in Russia.