U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and Ukraine President Volodymr Zelenskyy exit the Pentagon on Aug. 31, 2021.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and Ukraine President Volodymr Zelenskyy exit the Pentagon on Aug. 31, 2021. DoD / U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brittany A. Chase

Biden Will Announce $60M Security Aid to Ukraine To Counter Russia

The White House meeting with Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelenskyy will also reaffirm the partnership between the two countries.

President Joe Biden is expected to approve an additional $60 million to help Ukraine fend off Russia on Wednesday after meeting with Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelenskyy at the White House, a senior administration official said. 

At the meeting, Biden is also expected to receive an update on Russian aggression in the region and to reaffirm the strong security partnership between the two countries after a turbulent 2019 in which former President Donald Trump pressured Zelenskyy to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter, leading to Trump’s first impeachment

“I expect President Biden to convey his ironclad commitment to Ukraine’s security, sovereignty, and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, as well as to discuss Ukraine's ongoing reform program, both in terms of progress that's already been made and areas where continued progress is still needed,” the senior administration official said.  

Biden and Zelenskyy will meet first Wednesday at an expanded bilateral meeting with their top advisors. After that, the two presidents will meet one-on-one to communicate “more directly,” the official said. 

The two presidents are expected to announce the rebirth of the Strategic Partnership Commission, a gathering of top officials from both countries that has not met for three years. The founding document written in 2008 lays out a series of priorities for cooperation on security, trade, energy and cultural exchanges. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to meet with his counterpart this Fall to update and approve a new charter for the commission, the senior administration official said.

“We are very keen to reinvigorate and revitalize not only the relationship, but also specifically this partnership commission as a means of doing that,” the official said. 

Since 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea, the United States has committed to send $2.5 billion to support Ukrainian forces and deter Russian aggression. The $60 million security assistance package set to be approved on Wednesday will include Javelin anti-tank missiles plus other defensive capabilities, but no offensive technology, the official said. 

The Pentagon is also expected to sign a strategic defense framework with Ukraine during Zelensky’s visit to Washington that will build on a prior document written in 2016. The revisions are expected to boost cooperation on priorities such as security in the Black Sea and increased intelligence sharing, the official said. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Zelensky and Ukrainian Minister of Defence Andrii Taranto at the Pentagon on Tuesday.