Remarks by President Biden on Continued Support for Ukraine

January 25, 2023

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. It’s exactly noon. Thank you for being here.

Yesterday marked 11 months since Russia’s brutal all-out invasion of Ukraine; 11 months in which the Ukrainian people showed Putin and the world all the strength of their courage and unyielding determination to live freely.

And at every step of this terrible war, the American people have been strong and unwavering in their support.

And Democrats and Republicans in Congress have stood together. The United States has been working in lockstep with our allies and partners around the world to ensure that the Ukrainian people are in the best possible position to defend their nation, their families, and against brutality — Russia’s truly brutal aggression. We haven’t seen anything like this for a long time.

The United States and Europe are fully united.

This morning I had a long talk with our NATO allies – Chancellor Scholz, French President Macron, Prime Minister Sunak and Italian Prime Minister Meloni – to continue our close coordination in our full support to Ukraine. Because you all know – I’ve been saying this for a long time – the expectation from Russia is that we will disintegrate, we will not remain united. But we are complete, thorough and fully united.

With spring approaching, the Ukrainian armed forces are working to defend the territory they hold and prepare for additional counter-offensives. To liberate their country, they must be able to counter Russia’s evolving tactics and strategies on the short term on the battlefield.

They need to improve their maneuverability in open terrain.

And they need enduring capabilities to withstand and deter Russian aggression over the long term.

The foreign minister and the military secretary stand behind me. Are – they – they were deeply, deeply involved in this – this whole effort.

Armored capabilities, as General Austin will tell you, spe- – is – was – was crucial. And that’s why the United States has provided hundreds of armored fighting vehicles to date, including more than 500 as part of the relief package we announced last Friday.

And today – today I’m announcing that the United States will send 31 Abram tanks to Ukraine, which is equivalent to one Ukrainian battalion.

Secretary of State Austin recommended the move because it will improve Ukraine’s ability to defend its territory and achieve its strategic goals.

The Abrams tanks are the most powerful tanks in the world. They’re also extremely complex to operate and maintain, so we’re also giving Ukraine the parts and equipment necessary to keep these tanks effective on the battlefield.

And we’re starting – we’re going to start training the Ukrainian troops on these issues of preservation, logistics and maintenance as soon as possible.

Getting these tanks onto the field will take time, time we’ll see – we’ll use it to ensure the Ukrainians are fully prepared to integrate the Abram tanks into their defenses.

We also closely coordinated this announcement with our allies.

The American contribution is complemented by an additional announcement included that it will be readily available from other countries and easier to integrate for use on the battlefield in the coming weeks and months.

I am grateful to Chancellor Scholz for providing German Leopard 2 tanks and will endeavor to organize the European contribution of two tank battalions to Ukraine.

I would like to thank the Chancellor for his leadership and his unwavering commitment to our collective efforts to support Ukraine.

Germany has really stepped up and the Chancellor has been a strong, strong voice for unity – a close friend – and for the effort we will continue.

Supporting Ukraine’s ability to repel Russian aggression to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity is a global commitment. Not just Lo- — it’s global engagement.

Last week, Germany – in Germany Secretary of State Austin convened the Ukraine Defense Contact Group for the eighth time. This group consists of about 50 nations – 50 nations – each making a significant contribution to the integrity of Ukraine and fully committed to ensuring that Ukraine remains strong, independent and capable of defending itself against Russian threats and violence defend.

I want to thank every member of this coalition for continuing to strengthen.

The United Kingdom – the United Kingdom – recently announced that it will donate Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine. France contributes AMX-10 armored fighting vehicles.

In addition to the Leopard tanks, which Germany, like the United States, is also – Germany is also sending a Pat – a Patriot missile battery. The Netherlands donates a Patriot missile and launchers.

France, Canada, Britain, Slovakia, Norway and others have all donated vital air defense systems to help secure Ukrainian airspace and save the lives of innocent civilians who are literally the target – the target of Russian aggression.

Poland sends armored vehicles. Sweden donates armored personnel carriers. Italy gives artillery. Denmark and Estonia send howitzers. Latvia provides more Stinger missiles. Lithuania provides anti-aircraft guns. And Finland recently announced its largest ever package of security aid.

You may remember when I was asked a while back what I think would happen. And I said – I informed Putin. He thought that he would – end up with the findalization [Finlandization] from Europe. Well, he has the natoization of Finland. He got something he never intended.

Together with our allies and partners, we have deployed more than 3,000 armored vehicles, more than 8,000 [800] Artillery systems, more than 2 million rounds of artillery ammunition and more than 50 advanced multi-launch missile systems, anti-ship and air defense systems, all designed to help counter Ukraine [Ukraine counter] brutal aggression taking place because of Russia.

And you see, today’s announcement builds on the hard work and commitment of countries around the world, led by the United States of America, to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

That’s what this is about: helping Ukraine, defending and protecting Ukrainian land. It is not an offensive threat to Russia. We are – there is no offensive threat to Russia.

When Russian troops return to Russia, they will be there – where they belong, and this war would be over today.

That’s what we all want: a just and lasting end to this war.

You know, our teams will not allow a nation — we will not allow a nation to steal a neighbor’s territory by force.

Our terms, which uphold Russia’s sovereignty – the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine – and honor the UN Charter, these are the terms we are working on.

And, you know, these are – these are the terms that we all signed and voted for by the 143 nations in the United Nations General Assembly last October.

So, the United States stands shoulder to shoulder
our allies and partners, will continue to do everything in our power to support Ukraine.

Putin expected Europe and the United States to weaken our resolve. He expected that our support for Ukraine would crumble over time. He was wrong. He was wrong. And he was wrong from the start, and he continues to be wrong.

we are united America is united and so is the world.

And as we approach the one-year mark — as we are — of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, we remain as united and determined in our beliefs and our cause as ever.

These tanks are further evidence of our continued and unwavering commitment to Ukraine and our confidence in the capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

As I said to President Zelenskyy when he was here – and by the way, today is his birthday – in December: we will accompany you as long as necessary, Mr President.

Ukrainians are fighting an age-old battle against aggression and domination. It’s a battle Americans have always been proud to fight, and it’s a battle we will ensure Ukrainians are well equipped to fight as well.

This is about freedom. Freedom for Ukraine, freedom everywhere. It’s about the kind of world we want to live in and the world we want to leave behind for our children.

So may God protect the brave Ukrainian defenders of their country who keep the flame of freedom burning bright as best we can.

Thank you.

Q Mr President, why are you making this decision now? Did Germany force you to change your mind about sending tanks?

THE PRESIDENT: (Laughs) Germany didn’t force me to change my mind. We wanted to make sure we’re all together. And that’s what we wanted to do all along, and that’s what we’re doing now.

Thank you.

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