U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday praised workers making anti-tank missiles that are being shipped to Ukrainian fighters, saying the workers were “making it possible for the Ukrainian people to defend themselves.”
“Quite frankly,” he said, the Ukrainians were “making fools of the Russian military in many instances. … The weapons manufactured by your hands are in the hands of Ukrainian heroes. Thank you for what you do.”
Biden praised the 265 workers at a Lockheed Martin manufacturing plant in the southern city of Troy, Alabama, comparing them to American munitions workers during World War II.
“We’re at an inflection point in history in the ongoing battle between autocracy and democracy,” Biden said.
In an unnamed reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his 10-week invasion of Ukraine, Biden added, “If you don’t stand up to dictators, they keep coming.”
The U.S. leader said the meter-long, shoulder-fired missiles have inflicted such heavy damage on Russian tanks that some Ukrainian parents are naming their new-born sons Javelin and their baby daughters Javelina.
Military analysts say that as many as 1,000 Russian tanks have been destroyed in the fighting, many of them hit by the Javelin missiles, which have a range of up to 2,500 meters.
Javelin missiles cost more than $200,000 apiece and Biden acknowledged that the ongoing U.S. support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia is “not going to be cheap.”
But he urged Congress to act quickly on his new $33 billion request for more military and economic assistance for Ukraine, which comes on top of $13.6 billion already approved and spent.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, claiming the Russian military was seeking the “denazification” but not occupation of its neighboring country. Ukraine and Western nations condemned the actions, with the EU and Western countries leveling harsh economic sanctions against Moscow and providing military, food and medical aid to Kyiv.