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Ukraine updates: Biden signs bill releasing US military aid

Published April 24, 2024last updated April 24, 2024

US President Joe Biden has said deliveries of much-needed artillery munitions and other supplies to Ukraine will commence within "hours" after he signed a long-awaited aid package into law. DW has the latest.

US and Ukrainian flags
Image: Celal Gunes/Anadolu/picture alliance
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

The US president has said the US will begin sending fresh military support to Ukraine "in the next few hours" after signing legislation that had been held up for months in Congress

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the package means Ukraine is "gaining the support we need to continue protecting lives." 

Meanwhile, the US secretly supplied Ukraine with long-range missile systems in March, according to unnamed US officials. 

And, in an overnight attack, Ukrainian drones are believed to have struck two Rosneft-owned oil depots.

Rosneft is Russia's most prominent oil firm, and is controlled by the Russian government via the Rosneftegaz holding company. 

Here's an overview of Ukraine-related developments for April 24, 2024 

Skip next section US warns Russia could make more gains in coming weeks
April 24, 2024

US warns Russia could make more gains in coming weeks

Russia could make more gains against Ukrainian forces in the near future, the White House said.

"It is certainly possible that Russia could make additional tactical gains in the coming weeks," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.

According to Sullivan, Ukraine has been rationing ammunition for the past six months and has lost territory as a result.

But now, with the new aid package approved, the US will be able to support Ukraine with aid through 2024, he added.

Skip next section Ukraine to stop issuing passports to men of military age abroad
April 24, 2024

Ukraine to stop issuing passports to men of military age abroad

The Ukrainian government, further tightening rules on mobilization, has approved rules under which passports for military-age men can only be issued in the country.

The rules were announced a day after Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba suspended consular services for military-age men until May 18, criticizing those abroad for not serving in the war against Russia.

The government's latest decision stipulated that passports for foreign travel for men aged 18 to 60 could only be issued within Ukraine.

However, it said the rule did not apply to citizens who are now allowed to cross state borders during martial law, including those with disabilities.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian men of military age live abroad, and the country faces a shortage of troops in the campaign opposing Russia's larger military.

Ukraine approves new mobilization law

Skip next section Russian economy 'completely dependent' on war: study
April 24, 2024

Russian economy 'completely dependent' on war: study

Russia's GDP is "growing robustly on account of high government spending" on the war in Ukraine, according to the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW), which issued an economic forecast for Eastern European countries on Wednesday.

After strong growth of 3.6% last year, Russia’s GDP growth is likely to slow to 2.8%. The WIIW noted, however, that this represents a "remarkable upwards revision of 1.3 percentage points for 2024."

Vasily Astrov, an economist at WIIW, said that Vladimir Putin"will not run out of money for the war."

"For the Russian economy, the question is rather what comes after the war, as it is currently completely dependent on it," he added, highlighting a significant surge in government expenditure, especially for the military.

Russia's economy stable despite war sanctions

Skip next section US quietly delivered long-range missiles to Ukraine, officials say
April 24, 2024

US quietly delivered long-range missiles to Ukraine, officials say

The United States secretly shipped long-range missiles to Ukraine in recent weeks for use in fight against Russian forces. Ukraine used them for the first time last week, according to unnamed US officials who spoke to Reuters and AP news agencies.

The missiles were included in a $300 million (€280 million euro) military aid package to Ukraine approved by US President Joe Biden on March 12. How many of the missiles were sent, the official would not say.

The missiles were used for the first time in the early hours of April 17. They were fired at a Russian airfield in annexed Crimea, about 165 kilometers (103 miles) from the Ukrainian front lines, the official said.

One of the officials said the Biden administration continues to emphasize that the weapons cannot be used to hit targets inside Russia, only those inside Ukrainian territory. 

Whether to send the US Army's tactical anti-aircraft missile systems (ATACMS), which have a range of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles), has been the subject of debate within the Biden administration for months.

Mid-range ATACMS were delivered last September.

Russia's use of long-range ballistic missiles supplied by North Korea against Ukraine in December and January, despite public and private warnings from the United States not to do so, led to a change of heart, the official said.

Also a factor in US decision-making was Russia's targeting of Ukraine's critical infrastructure. "We warned Russia about those things," the official said. "They renewed their targeting."

What significance could ATACMS missiles have for Ukraine?

Skip next section Ukraine's Zelenskyy welcomes new US military aid
April 24, 2024

Ukraine's Zelenskyy welcomes new US military aid

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked US President Joe Biden for signing into law a military aid bill that is set to provide much-needed weapons and ammunition to Ukrainian forces. 

"Regardless of what anyone says, we are gaining the support we need to continue protecting lives from Russian attacks," Zelenskyy wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

"Over the past few days, we have already been actively working with our American friends on all levels to include the exact types of weapons that our warriors require in this package," he added.

Earlier in April, Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, head of US European Command, warned that Ukrainian forces would be outgunned by a ratio of 10 to 1 within weeks if US aid wasn't passed. That meant that for every round of artillery fired by Ukraine, Russia can fire 10. 

Ukraine short on weapons as Russia steps up attacks

President of the European Council Charles Michel also thanked US President Joe Biden for his "relentless work over the last months" on the Ukraine support package.

"We stand united in our commitment to support a free and independent Ukraine integrated in the euro-Atlantic community," Michel wrote on X.

Skip next section Biden signs bill providing new aid for Ukraine
April 24, 2024

Biden signs bill providing new aid for Ukraine

US President Joe Biden signed a bill authorizing long-awaited military aid to Ukraine.

A $95 billion (€89 billion) aid package includes aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, with $61 billion earmarked for Ukraine.

The package was approved by the US Senate on Tuesday, after lawmakers in the House of Representatives gave their OK over the weekend.

"It gives vital support to America 's partners so they can defend themselves from threats to their sovereignty," Biden said at the White House.

The president's signature clears the way for the Pentagon to send the first package of $1 billion worth of military equipment to Ukraine using the new funding.

The shipments are expected to reach Ukraine from Poland and also from Germany and other European countries.

"I'm making sure the shipments start right away. In the next few hours  literally in a few hours  we are going to begin sending equipment to Ukraine for air defense munitions, for artillery for rocket systems, and armored vehicles," Biden said.

"America stands with our friends, we stand up against dictators, we bow to no one, to no one - certainly not Vladimir Putin," Biden said.

However, he added that the aid package should have arrived at his desk "sooner."

US to send equipment to Ukraine 'in the next few hours': President Biden

Skip next section Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanks US Senate for approving aid to Ukraine
April 24, 2024

Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanks US Senate for approving aid to Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed gratitude to the US Senate lawmakers for approving a long-awaited $61 billion aid package "vital" aid for Ukraine, he wrote on Telegram on Wednesday.

Zelenskyy highlighted that the Senate vote strengthens the US role as a "beacon of democracy and leader of the free world."

The Ukrainian president stated that he appreciates the support of US President Joe Biden and "is looking forward to the quick signing of the bill and the provision of the next package of military aid to Ukraine, which will correspond to the determination I always feel in our negotiations." 

He also noted that "long-range capabilities, artillery and air defense are critically important tools for the speedy restoration of a just peace."

Zelenskyy thanks US, calls approved aid 'lifesaving'

Skip next section Russian Foreign Ministry condemns 'provocative' NATO drills in Finland
April 24, 2024

Russian Foreign Ministry condemns 'provocative' NATO drills in Finland

Russia sees a potential threat in NATO exercises in Finland, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told RIA state news agency on Wednesday.

The drills will be conducted starting on April 26 in close proximity to the Russian-Finnish border

Zakharova dubbed them as "provocative in nature" and said that "their task is to exert military pressure on the Russian Federation through a demonstration of force".

Finland to safeguard new NATO border with Russia

Skip next section Ukrainian drone warfare hits Russian Rosneft-owned energy sites
April 24, 2024

Ukrainian drone warfare hits Russian Rosneft-owned energy sites

Russian energy sites in Smolensk, western Russia, are on fire after a Ukrainian drone strike, Smolensk regional Governor Vasily Anokhin wrote on Telegram on Wednesday. There were reportedly no victims from the attack.

Metallurgical and pharmaceutical sites in the Lipetsk region, further south in western Russia were also targeted, as per a post from regional Governor Igor Artamonov on Telegram. No information about the casualties was provided. 

Drone strikes in Russia part of Ukraine's counteroffensive?

A source from Ukrainian intelligence told Reuters news agency that the depots, containing 26,000 cubic meters of fuel, were hit, causing major fires and evacuation of workers.

Attacks on energy production locations are part of a Ukrainian strategy to damage Russian military logistics.

"The SBU continues to effectively destroy military infrastructure and logistics that provide fuel to the Russian army in Ukraine. These facilities are and will remain our absolutely legitimate targets," the source said.

Ukraine's drone startups work closely with army

wd,dh,/wmr (AFP, Reuters, dpa)