President Biden is set to travel to Alabama next week to visit a weapons systems manufacturing facility that has been producing Javelin anti-tank missiles sent to Ukraine by the US in recent weeks to bolster the nation’s defense against Russia’s invasion.
“On Tuesday, May 3, the President will travel to Alabama to visit a Lockheed Martin facility which manufactures weapon systems such as Javelin anti-tank missiles, which the Biden-Harris Administration is providing Ukraine and which Ukrainians are using so effectively to defend against the Russian invasion,” the White House announced Wednesday.
The Biden administration has supplied Ukraine with thousands of anti-tank missiles since January, one month before Russia’s brutal attack began.
It has since provided the nation with several more shipments and millions of dollars in other military and humanitarian aid.
Last month, Ukraine indicated it would need 500 anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles daily in their fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s troops, according to a request obtained by CNN.
Biden recently alluded to the missiles, vowing that Washington “speak softly and carry a large Javelin,” invoking and modifying one of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous sayings.
“We won’t always be able to advertise everything we — that our partners are doing to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom, but to modernize Teddy Roosevelt’s famous advice: Sometimes we will speak softly and carry a large Javelin because we’re sending a lot of those in as well,” Biden said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin vowed more aid for Ukraine from the administration during a recent trip to Kyiv.
The two informed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the US will provide over $300 million in military financing and has approved a $165 million sale of non-US made ammunition that will be compatible with Ukraine’s Soviet-era weapons.
Ahead of the visit, a top diplomatic adviser to Zelensky indicated that additional weapons would be a main topic of conversation.
“We really need armored vehicles. We really need artillery systems … We need tanks in order to defend ourselves on the ground, in order to unblock such cities as Mariupol, in order to withstand the potential offensive of Russian armed forces in the Donbas,” Igor Zhovkva told NBC.
Biden’s visit to Alabama also follows up on a January promise he made about getting out of the White House more often and traveling to talk with the public.
“I’m going to get out of this place more often,” he told reporters in his first news conference of the year. “I’m going to go out and talk to the public. I’m going to do public fora. I’m going to interface with them. I’m going to make the case of what we’ve already done, why it’s important, and what we’ll do if – what will happen if they support what else I want to do.”