On Monday, Ukraine marked its national army day with a display of military hardware provided by the US, including armored vehicles and patrol boats.
The display comes as tensions are soaring in the region over claims that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine, an allegation Moscow insists is baseless. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy released a statement vowing that his country could fight off Russia.
“The servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to fulfill their most important mission – to defend the freedom and sovereignty of the state from the Russian aggressor,” Zelenskiy said. “The Ukrainian army … is confident in its strength and able to thwart any conquest plans of the enemy.”
Since the 2014 US-backed coup in Kyiv, the US has provided Ukraine with over $2 billion in military aid. Last month, reports in US media said the Biden administration was considering sending military advisors and more weapons to Ukraine. The potential new weapons package could include more anti-tank missiles, stinger missiles, and Russian-made M-17 helicopters that were meant to go to the former Afghan government.
President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to hold talks on Tuesday to discuss the Ukraine situation. Biden is considering new sanctions on Russia and is ready to warn Putin that the US could move more troops near Russia’s borders in the event of a Ukraine invasion.