President Biden on Tuesday visited a Lockheed Martin facility in Alabama to commend workers there for producing Javelin anti-tank missiles helping Ukraine fend off the Russian military invasion.
“You’re allowing the Ukrainians to defend themselves, and, quite frankly, they’re making fools of the Russian military in many instances,” Biden said in remarks after touring the facility in Troy, Ala. “A big part of the reason they’ve been able to keep up fighting and to make this war a strategic failure for Russia is because the United States together with our allies and partners have had their back.”
“You’re changing the nation,” he added. “You really are.”
The trip was part of an effort to showcase U.S. military support for Ukraine while pushing Congress to authorize more aid for the country — specifically, $33 billion in military, economic and humanitarian assistance that the Biden administration says is needed to sustain Ukraine over the coming months.
Biden administration officials have warned the war, which began at the end of February, could go on for months or longer.
“I urge the Congress to pass this funding quickly to help Ukraine to continue to succeed against Russian aggression,” Biden said Tuesday, making the case for the additional funding. “This fight is not going to be cheap, but caving to aggression would be even more costly.”
The Lockheed Martin facility in Troy produces thousands of Javelin anti-tank missile systems each year.
According to the White House, the U.S. government and its allies have transferred a total of 5,500 Javelins to Ukraine to fend off Russian aggression.
Biden’s visit to Alabama was an unusual stop in a deep-red state and was also notable for its foreign policy focus. Recently, the president has visited a handful of swing states where critical elections are taking place in November.
Biden drew a direct connection between the Pike County facility, which employs about 600 people, and the U.S. support for Ukraine, telling the workers they should be proud of themselves for helping the Ukrainians fight.
“I came for a basic reason, from the bottom of my heart, to say thank you,” the president said, wrapping up his remarks. “Unless you go out in the field and see it, you don’t realize what a difference you’re making.”
Updated 5:25 p.m.