Biden, Zelenskyy sign new 10-year security agreement

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(ITALY) — President Joe Biden touted on Thursday several new major U.S. commitments for Ukraine that were announced this week, including a 10-year bilateral security agreement, sanctions to disrupt Russia’s war machine, and a sign-off from the G7 on a $50 billion loan backed by frozen Russian assets.

Biden, in during a press conference in Italy with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said the collective efforts by the G7 show that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot wait us out, he cannot divide us, and we’ll be with Ukraine until they prevail this war.”

On the bilateral agreement, Biden said the goal is to “strengthen Ukraine’s credible defense and deterrence capabilities for the long term.”

He reiterated his position that American troops will not fight in Ukraine, but the United States would provide them with weapons.

Zelenskyy called it a “historic day” after signing the “strongest agreement between Ukraine and the U.S. since our independence.”

“This is an agreement on security and thus on the protection of human life. This is an agreement on cooperation, and thus on how our nations will become stronger. This is an agreement on steps to guarantee sustainable peace. And therefore, it benefits everyone in the world because the Russian war against Ukraine is a real, real global threat,” Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy was asked what his contingency plan is if the next U.S. president does not follow through with this agreement, but he suggested that as long as Americans support Ukraine, so will the American president.

“If the people are with us, any leader will be with us in this struggle for freedom,” he said.

Highlighting the frozen Russian assets, Biden said the plan that’s been agreed to by the G7 is another reminder for Putin that “we’re not backing down.”

“Collectively, this is a powerful set of actions and will create a stronger foundation for Ukraine’s success,” Biden said.

After Biden recently signed off on Ukraine using American weapons to strike in parts of Russia, limiting use to areas near the Russian-occupied Kharkiv region, he was asked if he would consider expanding those parameters to allow for longer-range strikes; he said his policy is still against that.

“It makes a lot of sense for Ukraine to be able to take out or combat what is coming across that border. In terms of long, long-range weapons, longer-range weapons into the interior of Russia, we have not changed our position on that sort,” he said.

Zelenskyy was asked about how long the supplemental support from the U.S. and other nations will get him on the battlefield. He said it’s not a matter of how long the aid lasts, but, more importantly, how long unity among nations will last.

“I think the question has to be, for how long the unity will last? The unity in the United States, together with the European leaders — how these or those elections will influence this unity?” Zelensky said, via translation

“It seems to me that we should look on this exactly this way: to preserve unity, to preserve the integrity of the world, the integrity of the democratic world. Because if Ukraine does not withstand, the democracy, many countries will not be able to withstand, and I am sure of that,” he added.

For his part, Biden pledged that Ukraine will “have what they need.”

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