President applauded US workers at an facility manufacturing anti-tank Javelin missiles that he said have allowed Ukrainians to make ‘fools of the Russian military’.
Biden toured the Lockheed Martin Co facility in Troy, Alabama, on Tuesday afternoon, as part of his effort to push Congress to approve a new $33billion assistance package for Ukraine.
‘You’re allowing the Ukrainians to defend themselves and quite frankly, they’re making fools of the Russian military in many instances,’ Biden said.
‘A big part of the reason they’ve been able to keep up fighting and to make this war a strategic failure for is because the United States together with our allies and partners have had their back.’
Biden added: ‘You’re changing the nation. You really are.’
The facility manufactures thousands of Javelin anti-tank missile systems every year. The US and its allies have sent a combined 5,500 Javelins to Ukraine to fight off Russia’s invasion, according to the White House.
Ukrainians used Javelins to stop Russian tanks from advancing on Kyiv, and demand for them is high as the assault has moved to eastern Ukraine.
‘They’re asking for more obviously,’ Lockheed’s chief executive Jim Taiclet said of Ukraine on Friday, adding that the company is trying to boost Javelin production at its facility in Troy and other locations.
Biden said his administration aims to make the US again the leading producer of semiconductor chips required to create Javelins and other weapons.
‘This fight is not going to be cheap, but caving to aggression would be even more costly,’ Biden said.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers have backed providing military, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. But existing funding has run out and the $20billion Biden seeks for military aid within the package is a hefty amount. Biden visited Republican-leaning Alabama hoping to build support for the package.
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