Biden announces additional $1 billion in military aid for Ukraine
The Biden administration announced on Wednesday it was providing an additional $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine to fight Russia, a package that includes shipments of additional howitzers, ammunition and coastal defense systems.
US President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday ahead of the announcement. According to a US official, the latest package includes 18 howitzers, 36,000 rounds of howitzer ammunition and two Harpoon coastal defense systems.
“I informed President Zelenskyy that the United States is providing another $1 billion in security assistance for Ukraine, including additional artillery and coastal defense weapons, as well as ammunition for the artillery and advanced rocket systems that the Ukrainians need to support their defensive operations in the Donbas,” Biden said in a statement after the call. “We also discussed Secretary Austin’s efforts in Brussels today to coordinate additional international support for the Ukrainian armed forces.”
Speaking in Brussels, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the US and Ukraine are “working in lockstep to meet Ukraine’s requests for new capabilities, especially its need for long-range fires, armor and coastal defense.”
The latest weapons package comes as Ukraine’s military is burning through its Soviet-era ammunition, while Ukrainian officials have pleaded with the West to send additional heavy weaponry as the war with Russia girds on. Western intelligence and military officials believe the war is at a critical stage that could determine the long-term outcome of the conflict, while Russia has amassed a significant artillery advantage around two key cities in eastern Ukraine.
South Carolina congressman who voted for impeachment will fall to Trump-backed challenger, while another incumbent who defied Trump will survive primary
South Carolina Republican voters on Tuesday split on two US House incumbents who defied former President Donald Trump, renominating Rep. Nancy Mace but souring on Rep. Tom Rice, the first of the 10 House Republicans who voted for Trump’s impeachment last year to fall in a primary.
State Rep. Russell Fry, who was endorsed by Trump, will defeat Rice in the 7th District, CNN projects.
Despite facing a severe backlash over his impeachment vote, including death threats in its aftermath, Rice did not back off his criticism of Trump or decide, like some of his impeachment-backing GOP colleagues, to leave office at the end of his term rather than face voters again. A staunch conservative and Trump supporter before the insurrection, the five-term congressman instead took his case out on the campaign trail. Republicans in his 7th District rejected it — and delivered the nomination to Fry, who will clear the 50% mark to avoid a runoff.
Rice’s ouster underscores Trump’s enduring popularity with most Republicans, especially in conservative districts like the one Rice has represented since 2013. But results in the 1st District demonstrated that the former President’s hold is not entirely firm.
Mace did not vote to impeach Trump, but she refused to join congressional objectors to President Joe Biden’s victory, earning the former President’s wrath. Faced with charges of insufficient loyalty to Trump, she drew a challenge from Katie Arrington, who defeated then-Rep. Mark Sanford, another Trump critic, in the 2018 primary but went on to lose the general election.
Suspect in custody after mass shooting threat prompts at least 8 Missouri school districts to cancel summer school classes
A suspect who allegedly made a mass shooting threat that prompted the cancellation of summer school events in at least eight Missouri school districts Wednesday is in police custody, according to the Blue Springs Police Department.
“There is no threat to the public and as in all threats of violence, our top priority is to keep the community safe,” Blue Springs Police said in a news release Wednesday morning.
Prosecutors have yet to announce formal charges, but speaking to reporters, Blue Springs Police Sgt. Keegan Hughes raised the possibility of a charge of making terroristic threats, which is a felony.
Hughes described the suspect as a 19-year-old Blue Springs resident. He was identified with the help of the FBI, Hughes said.
Police received a report around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday about a suspicious Snapchat post, the statement said.