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Biden will send Ukraine air defense weapons, artillery once Senate approves, Zelenskyy says

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Biden will send Ukraine air defense weapons, artillery once Senate approves, Zelenskyy says
News

News

Biden will send Ukraine air defense weapons, artillery once Senate approves, Zelenskyy says

2024-04-23 04:59 Last Updated At:05:01

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday the U.S. will send badly needed air defense weaponry once the Senate approves a massive national security aid package that includes $61 billion for Ukraine.

Zelensky said in a posting on X that Biden also assured him that a coming package of aid would also include long-range and artillery capabilities.

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From left, U.S. representatives Nathaniel Moran, R-Tx, Tom Kean Jr, R-NJ, Bill Keating, D-Mass, and Madeleine Deane, D-Pa, talk to journalists during a joint news conference outside Saint Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 22, 2024. A bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday and praised the historic House vote to approve $61 billion in military aid for Ukraine. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday the U.S. will send badly needed air defense weaponry once the Senate approves a massive national security aid package that includes $61 billion for Ukraine.

U.S. representative Madeleine Deane, D-Pa, places flowers at a memorial wall of Ukrainian soldiers killed during the war at Saint Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 22, 2024. A bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday and praised the historic House vote to approve $61 billion in military aid for Ukraine. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

U.S. representative Madeleine Deane, D-Pa, places flowers at a memorial wall of Ukrainian soldiers killed during the war at Saint Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 22, 2024. A bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday and praised the historic House vote to approve $61 billion in military aid for Ukraine. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

From left, U.S. representatives Nathaniel Moran, R-Tx, Tom Kean Jr, R-NJ, Bill Keating, D-Mass, and Madeleine Deane, D-Pa, speak to journalists during a joint news conference outside Saint Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 22, 2024. A bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday and praised the historic House vote to approve $61 billion in military aid for Ukraine. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

From left, U.S. representatives Nathaniel Moran, R-Tx, Tom Kean Jr, R-NJ, Bill Keating, D-Mass, and Madeleine Deane, D-Pa, speak to journalists during a joint news conference outside Saint Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 22, 2024. A bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday and praised the historic House vote to approve $61 billion in military aid for Ukraine. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Del., Monday, April 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Del., Monday, April 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

FILE - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Commander of Ukraine's Ground Forces Col.-Gen. Oleksandr Syrski, right, look at a map during their visit to the front line city of Kupiansk, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on Nov. 30, 2023. Ukraine’s commander in chief, Oleksandr Syrski, said Russia’s top military leadership ordered its soldiers to capture the town of Chasiv Yar by May 9, Russia’s Victory Day, a holiday that marks the defeat of Nazi Germany. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Commander of Ukraine's Ground Forces Col.-Gen. Oleksandr Syrski, right, look at a map during their visit to the front line city of Kupiansk, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on Nov. 30, 2023. Ukraine’s commander in chief, Oleksandr Syrski, said Russia’s top military leadership ordered its soldiers to capture the town of Chasiv Yar by May 9, Russia’s Victory Day, a holiday that marks the defeat of Nazi Germany. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

Ukraine is awaiting U.S. Senate approval after the House this weekend approved the $95 billion package that also includes aid for other allies. It comes after months of delay as some Republican lawmakers opposed further funding for Ukraine and threatened to oust Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., if he allowed a vote to take place.

Kyiv badly needs new firepower as Moscow has stepped up its attacks against an outgunned Ukraine. The Senate is expected to vote on the package this week, and Biden has promised to quickly sign it into law.

Zelenskyy said he and Biden also discussed “Russia’s air terror using thousands of missiles, drones and bombs” including a strike on the Kharkiv TV tower just minutes before they spoke.

“Russia clearly signals its intention to make the city uninhabitable,” Zelenskky said

Russia has exploited air defense shortages in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, to pummel the region’s energy infrastructure and harm its 1.3 million residents. Some officials and analysts warn it could be a concerted effort by Moscow to shape conditions for a summer offensive to seize the city.

The White House in a statement confirmed that Biden told Zelenskyy “that his administration will quickly provide significant new security assistance packages to meet Ukraine’s urgent battlefield and air defense needs as soon as the Senate passes the national security supplemental and he signs it into law."

“President Biden also underscored that the U.S. economic assistance will help maintain financial stability, build back critical infrastructure following Russian attacks, and support reform as Ukraine moves forward on the path of Euro-Atlantic integration,” according to the White House.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members on Monday met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv. The delegation included Reps. Tom Kean Jr., R-N.J., Nathaniel Moran, R-Texas, Bill Keating, D-Mass., and Madeleine Deane, D-Pa.

Kean told reporters “we know that the needs of Ukraine are urgent” and U.S. aid is “crucial to stem the tide of Russia’s assaults.”

Kean said Biden should use the authority in the bill to quickly deliver to Ukraine the weapons that it has requested, including the longer-range Army Tactical Missile System, known as ATACMS.

Zelenskyy said that he discussed with the U.S. lawmakers Ukraine's need for artillery shells, long-range missiles, electronic warfare equipment, unmanned aerial vehicles, combat aviation and support in developing the Ukrainian defense industry.

They also discussed Ukraine's bid to eventually join NATO, U.S. participation in an international conference in Switzerland in June aimed at charting a path toward peace in Ukraine, and other issues.

——

AP writer Jill Lawless in Kyiv contributed reporting.

From left, U.S. representatives Nathaniel Moran, R-Tx, Tom Kean Jr, R-NJ, Bill Keating, D-Mass, and Madeleine Deane, D-Pa, talk to journalists during a joint news conference outside Saint Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 22, 2024. A bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday and praised the historic House vote to approve $61 billion in military aid for Ukraine. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

From left, U.S. representatives Nathaniel Moran, R-Tx, Tom Kean Jr, R-NJ, Bill Keating, D-Mass, and Madeleine Deane, D-Pa, talk to journalists during a joint news conference outside Saint Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 22, 2024. A bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday and praised the historic House vote to approve $61 billion in military aid for Ukraine. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

U.S. representative Madeleine Deane, D-Pa, places flowers at a memorial wall of Ukrainian soldiers killed during the war at Saint Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 22, 2024. A bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday and praised the historic House vote to approve $61 billion in military aid for Ukraine. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

U.S. representative Madeleine Deane, D-Pa, places flowers at a memorial wall of Ukrainian soldiers killed during the war at Saint Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 22, 2024. A bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday and praised the historic House vote to approve $61 billion in military aid for Ukraine. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

From left, U.S. representatives Nathaniel Moran, R-Tx, Tom Kean Jr, R-NJ, Bill Keating, D-Mass, and Madeleine Deane, D-Pa, speak to journalists during a joint news conference outside Saint Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 22, 2024. A bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday and praised the historic House vote to approve $61 billion in military aid for Ukraine. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

From left, U.S. representatives Nathaniel Moran, R-Tx, Tom Kean Jr, R-NJ, Bill Keating, D-Mass, and Madeleine Deane, D-Pa, speak to journalists during a joint news conference outside Saint Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 22, 2024. A bipartisan delegation of U.S. Congress members met President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday and praised the historic House vote to approve $61 billion in military aid for Ukraine. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Del., Monday, April 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Del., Monday, April 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

FILE - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Commander of Ukraine's Ground Forces Col.-Gen. Oleksandr Syrski, right, look at a map during their visit to the front line city of Kupiansk, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on Nov. 30, 2023. Ukraine’s commander in chief, Oleksandr Syrski, said Russia’s top military leadership ordered its soldiers to capture the town of Chasiv Yar by May 9, Russia’s Victory Day, a holiday that marks the defeat of Nazi Germany. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Commander of Ukraine's Ground Forces Col.-Gen. Oleksandr Syrski, right, look at a map during their visit to the front line city of Kupiansk, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on Nov. 30, 2023. Ukraine’s commander in chief, Oleksandr Syrski, said Russia’s top military leadership ordered its soldiers to capture the town of Chasiv Yar by May 9, Russia’s Victory Day, a holiday that marks the defeat of Nazi Germany. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

Israel's foreign minister accused Spain of “being complicit in inciting genocide against Jews and war crimes” on Tuesday. Spain, Norway and Ireland moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations designed to add international pressure on Israel to soften its devastating response to last year’s Hamas-led attack.

The diplomatic move has no immediate impact on the war in Gaza, but adds to international pressure on Israel to soften its devastating response to October’s Hamas-led attack.

Israeli strikes on Rafah overnight killed at least 16 Palestinians, first responders said Tuesday, as residents reported an escalation of fighting in the southern Gaza city.

Over the weekend, an Israeli airstrike hit a tent camp in a western part of Rafah, causing a large fire and killing at least 45 people, according to health officials. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged a “tragic mishap” had occurred. The strike only added to the surging international criticism Israel has faced over its war with Hamas, with even its closest allies expressing outrage at civilian deaths. Israel insists it adheres to international law even as it faces scrutiny in the world’s top courts, one of which last week demanded that it halt the offensive in Rafah.

In the past two weeks, more than a million Palestinians fled Rafah as Israeli forces pressed deeper into the city. People displaced by fighting lack shelter, food, water and other essentials for survival, the U.N. says. Israel says it needs to invade Rafah to destroy Hamas militants’ last stronghold.

Israeli bombardments and ground offensives in Gaza have killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.

Currently:

— Israeli strikes kill 16 in Rafah, medics say, as residents report heavy fighting.

— Netanyahu says deadly Israeli strike in Rafah over the weekend was the result of a "tragic mishap."

— As Israel attacks Rafah, Palestinians are living in tents and scrounging for food.

— Spain’s prime minister says its Cabinet will recognize a Palestinian state as the EU rift with Israel widens.

— An Israeli strike in southern Lebanon kills 2 people near a hospital, officials say.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here's the latest:

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — Israeli strikes on Rafah have killed at least 16 Palestinians overnight, first responders said Tuesday, as residents reported an escalation of fighting in the southern Gaza city.

An Israeli incursion launched earlier this month has caused nearly 1 million to flee from Rafah, most of whom have already been displaced in the war between Israel and Hamas, and who are now seeking refuge in squalid tent camps and war-ravaged areas.

The latest strikes occurred in the same area where Israel targeted what it said was a Hamas compound on Sunday night. That strike ignited a fire in a camp for displaced Palestinians and killed at least 45 people, according to local health officials, sparking worldwide outrage.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was a “tragic mishap” on Sunday and the military said it was investigating.

The latest strikes killed a total of 16 people in the Tel al-Sultan neighborhood in northwest Rafah, according to the Palestinian Civil Defense and the Palestinian Red Crescent.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norway on Tuesday formally recognized a Palestinian state with the Scandinavian foreign minister calling it “a milestone in the relationship between Norway and Palestine.”

Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said “the recognition is a strong expression of support for moderate forces in both countries.”

However, “it is regrettable that the Israeli government shows no signs of engaging constructively,” Barth Eide said. “The international community must increase its political and economic support for Palestine and continue the work for a two-state solution.”

Last week, Norway, along with Spain and Ireland, said in a coordinated effort that they were recognizing a Palestinian state.

MADRID — Spain moved to formally recognize a Palestinian state with Ireland and Norway to follow suit on Tuesday in a coordinated effort by the three western European nations. Israel slammed the diplomatic move that will have no immediate impact on its grinding war in Gaza but adds to international pressure to soften its devastating response to October’s Hamas-led attack.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz accused Spain of “being complicit in inciting genocide against Jews and war crimes” and told the country that its consulate in Jerusalem will not be allowed to help Palestinians.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who announced his country’s decision before parliament last week, has spent months touring European and Middle Eastern countries to garner support for recognition and a cease-fire in Gaza.

Relations between the EU and Israel nosedived Monday, the eve of the diplomatic recognition EU members Ireland and Spain, with Madrid insisting that sanctions should be considered against Israel for its continued deadly attacks in southern Gaza’s city of Rafah.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s parliament reelected hard-liner Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf on Tuesday as its speaker, reaffirming its hard-right makeup in the wake of a helicopter crash that killed the country’s president and foreign minister.

Of 287 lawmakers voting Tuesday, 198 backed Qalibaf to retain the position he first took in 2021. He initially became speaker following a string of failed presidential bids and 12 years as the leader of Iran’s capital city. Many, however, know Qalibaf for his support as a Revolutionary Guard general for a violent crackdown on Iranian university students in 1999. He also reportedly ordered live gunfire to be used against Iranian students in 2003 while serving as the country’s police chief.

Smoke billows after an explosion in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Smoke billows after an explosion in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

An Israeli Apache helicopter fires a missile towards the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

An Israeli Apache helicopter fires a missile towards the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Customers stand in a restaurant while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appears on a television broadcast in Rivas Vaciamadrid, Spain, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the Spanish Cabinet will recognize a Palestinian state at its Tuesday morning meeting as a European Union rift with Israel widens. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Customers stand in a restaurant while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez appears on a television broadcast in Rivas Vaciamadrid, Spain, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the Spanish Cabinet will recognize a Palestinian state at its Tuesday morning meeting as a European Union rift with Israel widens. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Children light candles during a march against Israel and in solidarity with Palestinians in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, on the Mediterranean Sea corniche in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, May 27, 2024. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Monday that a "tragic mistake" had been made after an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza city of Rafah set fire to a tent camp housing displaced Palestinians and killed at least 45 people, according to local officials. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Children light candles during a march against Israel and in solidarity with Palestinians in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, on the Mediterranean Sea corniche in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, May 27, 2024. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Monday that a "tragic mistake" had been made after an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza city of Rafah set fire to a tent camp housing displaced Palestinians and killed at least 45 people, according to local officials. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Mourners shout slogans as they carry the coffins of Hezbollah commanders Hussein Youssef Salleh and Rafik Hassan Qassem, who were killed by an Israeli strike, during their funeral procession in Aita al-Shaab village, south Lebanon, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Mohammad Zaatari)

Mourners shout slogans as they carry the coffins of Hezbollah commanders Hussein Youssef Salleh and Rafik Hassan Qassem, who were killed by an Israeli strike, during their funeral procession in Aita al-Shaab village, south Lebanon, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Mohammad Zaatari)

A picture of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah sits on a house previously destroyed in an Israeli strike, in Aita al-Shaab village, south Lebanon, Monday, May 27, 2024. The Arabic on flag reads: "Oh Hussein." (AP Photo/Mohammad Zaatari)

A picture of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah sits on a house previously destroyed in an Israeli strike, in Aita al-Shaab village, south Lebanon, Monday, May 27, 2024. The Arabic on flag reads: "Oh Hussein." (AP Photo/Mohammad Zaatari)

Protesters clash with troops and riot police during a demonstration near the Egyptian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, May 27, 2024, in solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza and demanding the Egyptian authorities open the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Protesters clash with troops and riot police during a demonstration near the Egyptian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, May 27, 2024, in solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza and demanding the Egyptian authorities open the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Iran's acting President Mohammad Mokhber addresses during the opening ceremony of a new parliament term, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 27, 2024. Mokhber addressed the country's new parliament Monday in his first public speech since last week's helicopter crash that killed his predecessor and seven others. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iran's acting President Mohammad Mokhber addresses during the opening ceremony of a new parliament term, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 27, 2024. Mokhber addressed the country's new parliament Monday in his first public speech since last week's helicopter crash that killed his predecessor and seven others. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

A girl waves a Hezbollah flag as her brothers hold portraits of the late Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone attack in 2020 in Iraq, as the family check their house destroyed in an Israeli strike in Aita al-Shaab village, south Lebanon, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Mohammad Zaatari)

A girl waves a Hezbollah flag as her brothers hold portraits of the late Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone attack in 2020 in Iraq, as the family check their house destroyed in an Israeli strike in Aita al-Shaab village, south Lebanon, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Mohammad Zaatari)

FILE - A tent camp housing Palestinians displaced by the Israeli offensive is seen in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on Feb. 27, 2024. The tent camps stretch for more than 16 kilometers (10 miles) along Gaza’s coast, filling the beach and sprawling into empty lots, fields and town streets. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, file)

FILE - A tent camp housing Palestinians displaced by the Israeli offensive is seen in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on Feb. 27, 2024. The tent camps stretch for more than 16 kilometers (10 miles) along Gaza’s coast, filling the beach and sprawling into empty lots, fields and town streets. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, file)

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