Zelensky's Appeal to Congress Followed by Biden Sending More Weapons

The Biden administration has announced it will provide $800 million in additional military aid to Ukraine as the Russian invasion enters its fourth week.

The move, though in the works before Wednesday, comes the same day that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to members of the U.S. Congress to ask for more assistance and a no-fly zone over the country.

Though the U.S. stopped short of approving a no-fly zone, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has said in the past would be an indication of joining the military conflict, the U.S. is now contributing billions of dollars toward helping Ukraine in the war. The latest announcement also follows several decisions around the world made earlier the same day to condemn Russia's actions, with Newsweek previously reporting that the International Court of Justice ordered Russia to stop its invasion and the Council of Europe removed Russia from its ranks.

According to a statement from the White House, the new assistance package puts U.S. aid to Ukraine at a total of $2 billion since the invasion began on February 24. The statement added that the U.S. plans to provide 800 anti-aircraft systems, 9,000 anti-armor systems, 100 unmanned tactical aerial systems, thousands of sets of body armor and helmets, 20 million rounds of ammunition and hundreds to thousands of weapons like rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers.

While speaking at the White House, President Joe Biden said the U.S. will be "steadfast in our support of the people of Ukraine in the face of Putin's immoral, unethical attacks on civilian populations," NBC News reported.

"We are united in our abhorrence of Putin's depraved onslaught," Biden said. "And we're going to continue to have their backs as they fight for their freedom, their democracy, their very survival."

The new supply adds to a list of hundreds to thousands of anti-aircraft systems, anti-armor systems, weapons and ammunition rounds the U.S. had already given Ukraine, the White House statement added. The U.S. has also supplied Ukraine with several Mi-17 helicopters, patrol boats, counter-mortar radar systems and other military supplies.

When Zelensky spoke in front of Congress earlier on Wednesday, he asked for a no-fly zone so Russia could not "terrorize our free cities," but U.S. politicians are against that idea due to fears of Russia taking it as an act of war. So far, Estonia is the only other NATO country to advocate in favor of a no-fly zone.

However, during his speech, Zelensky offered an alternative.

"You know what kind of defense systems we need—S-300 and other similar systems," he said. "You know how much depends on the battlefield on the ability to use aircraft."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he supports the idea of sending aircraft like MiGs to Ukraine, though nothing has been announced yet.

Follow Newsweek's live blog for updates on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Update 03/16/22 2:37 p.m. ET: This story was updated to add

U.S. to Provide Ukraine with Military Aid
The U.S. announced it will provide additional military aid to Ukraine. Above, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to Congress by video to plead for support at the U.S. Capitol on March 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/Pool/Getty Images