Top Russian diplomat Sergei Lavrov has accused NATO of fighting a proxy war by supplying military aid to Ukraine, as defense ministers gathered in Germany on April 26 for US-hosted talks on supporting Ukraine through what one US general called a “very critical” few weeks.

Sergei Lavrov told Russian state media: “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy.  War means war.”

The US talks took place at Ramstein airbase south-west of Frankfurt, Germany.  The United States said the world was galvanized against Russia's two-month-old invasion of Ukraine as it hosted more than 40 countries for defense talks in Germany that sought to speed and synchronize the delivery of arms to Kiev, Reuters reported on April 26. 

According to The Guardian, General Mark Milley, chair of the US joint chiefs of staff, said a key goal of the talks was to coordinate mounting security assistance to Kiev that included heavy weaponry, such as howitzers, as well as armed drones and ammunition.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected a Russian statement that NATO is fighting a 'proxy war' in Ukraine, according to Euronews.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has called on Congress to approve US$33 billion in funds for Ukraine, DW reported on April 28.  Over US$20 billion are expected to be used for weapons and military aid, with US$8.5 billion in direct economic aid allocated to Ukraine's government.  Another US$3 billion would be used for humanitarian and food security needs.

Al Jazeera says the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly backed the “Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022” on April 28 by a vote of 417 to 10, sending the bill to President Joe Biden for his signature. The bill had reportedly sailed through the Senate with unanimous support.

US President seeks powers to use Russian oligarchs’ assets for Ukraine.  Mr. Biden is requesting from Congress new powers to seize and repurpose Russian oligarchs’ assets.  In a statement, the White House described the proposal as a “comprehensive legislative package” saying it will “enhance the United States Government’s authority to hold the Russian government and Russian oligarchs accountable for President Putin’s war against Ukraine.”

Among the measures, President Biden has asked legislators to make it a criminal offence for a person to “knowingly or intentionally possess proceeds directly obtained from corrupt dealings with the Russian government.”