April 14, 2024

News and Political Commentary

Joe Biden pins blame for Russian battlefield victory on Congress inaction

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US President Joe Biden has blamed Russia’s first major battlefield victory in Ukraine in nearly a year on the failure of the US Congress to pass a bill funding Kyiv’s army.

Biden told his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the weekend that Ukraine’s withdrawal from the critical eastern town of Avdiivka on Saturday came “after Ukrainian soldiers had to ration ammunition due to dwindling supplies as a result of congressional inaction”, according to a White House readout of the call.

On Sunday the Kremlin hailed Russia’s capture of the city, its first big victory since taking Bakhmut in May last year, and vowed to press on with its offensive in eastern Ukraine.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, told reporters that the Russian leader had been given constant updates on the operation to capture Avdiivkaa and learned that Russian forces had taken control of the whole town after lunchtime on Saturday.

Before then, Peskov claimed, “the enemy had already started to flee en masse from Avdiivka”, without offering any evidence.

“At the moment our president is hearing a report from the minister of defence and the chief of our general staff that our units are continuing their offensive and not letting the enemy secure new heights,” Peskov added.

Russia’s defence ministry said on Sunday Moscow’s forces controlled the entire city and had advanced the front lines by 8.6km.

Ukraine’s units have found themselves outgunned on the frontline in recent months as talks stall in Congress over a promised $60bn aid package, which is opposed by likely Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

As the second anniversary of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine approaches, Biden told reporters at the weekend that he had called Zelenskyy “to let him know I’m confident we’re going to get that money” and said he…

2024-02-18 09:04:02

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