On Tuesday, President Biden visited a Lockheed Martin plant in Alabama that manufactures Javelin anti-tank missile systems, a weapon the US has been pouring into Ukraine to help Kyiv in its fight against Russia.
In a speech at the plant, Biden praised Lockheed Martin workers for producing the weapon for Ukraine. “The bottom line is I came to say thank you, thank you, thank you. That’s the reason I’m here,” he said.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the US has sent over $3 billion in military aid to the Ukrainians, including thousands of Javelin missiles. Biden is preparing to support Ukraine against Russia in the long term and has asked Congress for $33 billion in new aid for Kyiv, which includes $20.4 billion in military assistance.
“As I said from the beginning, this fight is not going to be cheap,” Biden said. He told the Lockheed Martin workers that he is “urging” Congress to pass the $33 billion in Ukraine aid quickly so they can keep “all of you very, very busy for a while here.”
Javelins are a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. The two companies and other US arms manufacturers stand to make massive profits over Biden’s push to arm Ukraine and the NATO military buildup in Eastern Europe.
Raytheon also produces Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, which the US started sending to Ukraine for the first time when Russia invaded. Biden’s visit to Alabama came amid concerns over the supply of Javelins, Stingers, and the US stockpiles of other weapons it has been pouring into Ukraine.
Raytheon has warned it cannot produce more Stingers for a few years due to material shortages, prompting senators to call on Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act. Invoking the law would allow US weapons manufacturers to cut the line ahead of other domestic manufacturers for critical materials, such as semiconductors. According to Biden, each Javelin Lockheed Martin produces requires over 200 semiconductors.
While doing everything he can to arm Ukraine, Biden has abandoned diplomacy with Moscow and appears to show no interest in pushing for a negotiated end to the war. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Biden’s top diplomat, hasn’t spoken with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, since February 15.
US officials have made clear that their plans in Ukraine go beyond Kyiv winning the war. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who served on the board of Raytheon before taking his post at the Pentagon, recently said one of the US goals in Ukraine is to see a “weakened” Russia.