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Biden and Scholz discuss Ukraine aid in call

US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz agree on the need for continued aid to Kyiv. Meanwhile, France has announced it will deliver more missiles and bombs to Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke by phone Tuesday to discuss, among other things, the urgency of continued support for Ukraine as it heads into the third year of an unwanted war with Russia.

A spokesman for Berlin said the leaders agreed that it was of the utmost importance to provide Ukraine with financial, humanitarian and military assistance as it continues to fight Russian forces.

Germany has pledged to provide Kyiv with more than €7 billion ($7.6 billion) in military hardware in 2024.

A White House statement said the two leaders "coordinated on their countries' ongoing steadfast support to Ukraine in the face of Russia's war of aggression."

US aid to Ukraine

The US is by far Ukraine's most important ally when it comes to fighting Russia. But Kyiv and its European allies are very concerned that Biden may be forced to cut Ukraine aid as hard-right Republicans hold funding for it hostage in a political budget battle

Biden has reportedly invited a small group of congressional leaders to the White House for budget talks Wednesday, when they will discuss aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Currently, €61 billion in "critical" aid is being held up by Republican hardliners who say the money should be spent erecting a wall on the US' southern border with Mexico and reforming US immigration laws.

Biden has been at loggerheads with Republicans over aid to Kyiv since September. Observers say his talks with leaders could be a sign that he is once again prepared to engage with them before another government shutdown deadline arrives Friday.

Macron announces missiles for Ukraine

In Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron promised the delivery of new weapons to Kyiv on Tuesday. France will deliver a new batch of around 40 SCALP long-range cruise missiles as well as hundreds of bombs to Ukraine, Macron said.

He also voiced enthusiasm for a Franco-Ukraine support agreement similar to penned by the UK last Friday.

The deal that UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak signed in Ukraine guarantees rapid and long-term military assistance now and in any future clashes with Russia. The deal only involved military assistance and not the deployment of UK troops.   

Macron told reporters at a news conference that Europe's priority must be to "not let Russia win."

A Russian victory would undermine the world order, Macron said.

He added that he would make a new visit to the Ukrainian capital in February.

Ukraine has been battling Russian forces on its territory since Moscow ordered a full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022.

Source: Dw

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