(TROY, Ala.) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday credited the assembly line workers at a Javelin missile plant for doing life-saving work in building the antitank weapons that are being sent to Ukraine to stifle Russia’s invasion as he made a pitch for Congress to approve $33 billion so the U.S. can continue hustle aid to the front lines.
“You’re allowing the Ukrainians to defend themselves,” Biden told the workers, his podium flanked by Javelin missile launchers and shipping containers. “And, quite frankly, they’re making fools of the Russian military in many instances.”
Biden said "we have sent more than $3 billion dollars in security assistance to Ukraine." He said, "That money is a direct investment in democracy."
Biden said, "Every taxpayer is directly contributing to freedom, and that's something we can all be proud of."
The president’s visit to the Lockheed Martin factory in Alabama also drew attention to growing concern as the war drags on: Can the U.S. sustain the cadence in shipping vast amounts of arms to Ukraine while maintaining a healthy stockpile it may need if conflict erupts with North Korea, Iran or elsewhere?
The U.S. has provided at least 7,000 Javelins, including some transferred during the Trump administration, or about one-third of its stockpile, to Ukraine in recent years, according to an analysis by Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies international security program. The Biden administration says it has committed to sending 5,500 Javelins to Ukraine since the Feb. 24 invasion.
Analysts also estimate that the United States has sent about one-quarter of its stockpile of shoulder-fired Stinger missiles to Ukraine. Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes told investors last week during a quarterly call that his company, which makes the weapons system, wouldn’t be able to ramp up production until next year, due to parts shortages.