WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden told his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday that Washington will never recognise Russia's purported annexation of the Ukrainian territories, as he announced an additional USD 625 million in military aid to the war-ravaged eastern European country.
Russia's parliament approved laws on Monday on annexing four occupied Ukrainian regions, namely Kherson, Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia into Russia, following a 'sham referendum' that Ukraine and the West denounced as coercive and illegitimate.
Biden was also joined by Vice-President Kamala Harris in the call, during which they "underscored that the United States will never recognise Russia's purported annexation of Ukrainian territory," the White House said.
The US President also announced the provision of a new USD 625 million security assistance package that includes additional weapons and equipment, including HIMARS, artillery systems and ammunition, and armoured vehicles.
This round of military aid marks the first time the US has sent additional HIMARS to Ukraine since late July.
Biden affirmed the continued readiness of the US to impose severe costs on any individual, entity, or country that provides support to Russia's purported annexation.
"He welcomed the success of the agreement that has allowed the safe export of Ukrainian grain to global markets and the need to ensure that continues," the White House said.
"In addition, President Biden noted the ongoing efforts of the US to rally the world behind Ukraine's efforts to defend its freedom and democracy, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter," the White House added.
The call comes as Zelenskyy has "accelerated" Ukraine's application for NATO membership after Russia annexed four Ukrainian territories.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced that he has authorised America's 24th drawdown of the US arms and equipment for Ukraine since August 2021.
"This USD 625 million drawdown includes additional arms, munitions, and equipment from US Department of Defence inventories. This drawdown will bring the total U.S. military assistance for Ukraine to more than USD17. 5 billion since the beginning of this administration," he said.
This is the first tranche of US aid delivered in the new fiscal year, which began on October 1.