As published by ABC News by Lara Painter.
CALIFORNIA, USA — This week marks one year since Russia first invaded Ukraine.
President Joe Biden pledged the United States will stand with Ukraine for the long haul during his previously unannounced visit to the country’s war-torn capitol Monday.
“Freedom is priceless. It’s worth fighting for. For as long as it takes and that’s how long we’re going to be with you Mr. President (Zelenskyy), for as long as it takes,” said President Biden.
Amid signs of waning support at home for U.S. military aid to Ukraine, the president also announced a new weapons package funded by taxpayer dollars.
The U.S. has appropriated more than $112 billion in defense, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since the war with Russia started, according to NPR.
During a visit with Ukraine’s president in the country’s capitol city, President Biden promised another half billion dollars more.
“The Ukrainians are now pushing back and taking back up to 50% of what the Russians took in the initial push. It is working,” said Mick Mulroy, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and ABC News contributor.
However, new research shows support stateside is softening.
An Associated Press poll shows American’s support for supplying weapons or funds to Ukraine, accepting Ukrainian refugees or imposing economic sanctions against Russia has declined since last spring.
Also, polling this month from ABC News and the Washington Post finds 33% of Americans say the U.S. is doing too much for Ukraine. That’s up from 14% last spring, and after many Republicans have insisted the U.S. won’t give Ukraine a blank check.
“That is an argument this White House strongly rejects. They note Ukraine isn’t getting everything they have asked for,” said Mary Bruce, ABC News Senior White House correspondent.
Local Congressman John Garamendi (D-Vallejo) recently returned from the Ukrainian border, saying the president’s visit is a powerful show of support for Ukraine.
“By going to Kyiv, as he did today, he is taking that message of unity, that message of solidarity and determination to Ukraine as well as to our partners in Western Europe, the NATO countries and the European Union,” he said.
He says the visit comes during a time surrounding countries fear they are next to be attack by Russia.
“These countries know that is what Putin intends to do, and if he gets Ukraine, then they are next in line and so we have to stand firm,” said Garamendi.
Ukraine has pressed for more weapons from the west, including F-16 fighter jets. Senator Lindsey Graham is calling on the U.S. to hand them over and start training Ukrainian pilots though experts say it could represent a major escalation of U.S. support in the war.
Friday night, there will be a rally at the state capitol building in support of the Ukrainian people and to honor the memory of those who died in the war.
It’s hosted by Sacramento-based non-profit the Ukrainian American House and the consulate general of Ukraine.