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Biden tells Zelensky that the US will grant Ukraine $225 million in new aid

As the Ukrainian president receives more aid from Western countries, a survey revealed that his popularity fell to its lowest level in the last two years.

El presidente estadounidense Joe Biden (d) estrecha la mano del presidente ucraniano Volodimir Zelenski (i) durante una reunión bilateral en el Hotel Intercontinental de París, el 7 de junio de 2024. El presidente de EEUU, Joe Biden, prometió su apoyo a Ucrania y anunció 225 millones de dólares más en ayuda a Kiev al reunirse en París con el líder ucraniano, Volodimir Zelenski.

(Saul Loeb / AFP)

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(AFP / VOZ MEDIA) President Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this Friday that the United States will send Ukraine a new $225 million aid package.

"The United States will always be with you," Biden said during a meeting in Paris with Zelensky, who thanked him for Washington's "enormous support" in his war to defend against the Russian invasion.

Both are in France attending the ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings, which brought together Western leaders and Zelensky in the northwest of France. Russian President Vladimir Putin was not in attendance.

Before the French National Assembly (lower house), Zelensky stated that "Europe is no longer a continent of peace" and that Putin is a "common enemy" of Ukraine and Europe.

The Franco-German arms group KNDS officially announced this Friday that it is creating a subsidiary in Ukraine to produce equipment and ammunition.

Western countries are increasing their aid packages to Kiev as Russia gains ground in its offensive launched in February 2022 to invade Ukraine.

On Thursday evening, French President Emmanuel Macron announced France will supply Mirage-2000 fighters and train Ukrainian pilots in France starting this summer.

Macron also indicated that France had proposed training 4,500 soldiers on Ukrainian territory.

The Kremlin accused France this Friday of being "willing" to "directly participate in the conflict" in Ukraine.

Zelensky's popularity level falls to its lowest level since the war with Russia began

While Zelensky strengthens the support of Europe and the United States in his offensive against Russia, Ukrainians' trust in their president has fallen below 60%, according to a survey published on Friday.

Zelensky has faced numerous challenges in the past year, including last summer's failed counteroffensive, intense debates over mobilization rules and corruption scandals at the highest levels of government.

The 46-year-old president’s popularity rose to 90% in May 2022, following the launch of the Russian invasion in February of the same year, but this May it plummeted to 59%, according to the Kiev International Institute of Sociology or KIIS.

The Ukrainian president "maintains his legitimacy in the eyes of Ukrainian society, and the majority of Ukrainians continue to trust him," said Anton Hrushetsky, the executive director of the KIIS.

"However, the downward trend persists. As seen in the results, certain appointments to official positions and equity problems [especially in the fight against corruption or in the fairer distribution of the burden of war], are the main criticisms," the institute added.

Will Ukraine call elections?

Zelensky, a former actor, was elected president of the country in 2019. His five-year term ended last month but has been extended indefinitely because of the war.

The Ukrainian head of state announced that he "is prepared" to hold elections if necessary, which is opposed by "between 70 and 80%" of the population, according to the KIIS.

National authorities decided not to organize new elections, given that Russia controls around 20% of the country and millions of Ukrainians have taken refuge abroad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, re-elected in March for a fifth term and accused of massive electoral fraud, has stated on several occasions that he does not consider Zelensky to be the legitimate president of Ukraine.