On the eastern front, a Ukrainian lieutenant was overseeing an artillery unit equipped with American-supplied M777 howitzers and other heavy weaponry, while in Washington, U.S. legislators were convening to determine if his cannons would fall silent due to a lack of ammunition.

Upon returning to his base on Saturday night, the lieutenant was greeted with the long-awaited news that he and millions of Ukrainians had been fervently praying for.

“I had just arrived at the building after a shift change when my colleagues informed me about the approval of the aid package for Ukraine by Congress,” shared the lieutenant, known only by his first name, Oleksandar, as per military protocol. “We are eagerly anticipating the swift delivery of this aid package.”

The decision by U.S. lawmakers to reinstate military support following months of delay was met with a collective sense of relief and gratefulness throughout war-torn Ukraine. While it may have been delayed, soldiers and civilians emphasized that American backing represented more than just munitions and ordnance.

It also brought something equally vital: hope.

Immediately after the bill was approved in Congress, Ukrainian citizens flocked to social media to express their gratitude and joy, sharing American flag memes blending elements of Ukrainian culture with symbols like the Statue of Liberty.

“Tears fill my eyes,” remarked Anton Gerashchenko, the founder of the Ukrainian Institute for the Future, a research organization. “So much suffering, so much pain. Many friends lost in these terrible years of war. Now, there is hope to save more lives of those who remain.”

The $60 billion military aid package endorsed by the House is anticipated to undergo a vote in the Senate and receive the signature of President Biden, possibly by Tuesday. The Pentagon has indicated that it could resume dispatching weapons to Ukraine within days through its proficient logistics network.

Although details of the initial assistance package have not been disclosed by the Pentagon, the United States has been the primary supplier of the much-needed ammunition for Ukrainian forces, including artillery shells and precision rockets for long-range strikes.

Ukrainian officials mentioned that the assistance would likely aid in replenishing Ukraine’s short- and medium-range air defense systems, which comprise missiles capable of intercepting Russian ballistic missiles wreaking havoc on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

Certain supplies, such as artillery shells, could start arriving relatively promptly, but Ukrainian commanders along with military experts cautioned that it would take weeks before the U.S. aid would begin to significantly affect the conflict.

“Consequently, the situation at the front line is likely to further deteriorate during this period, especially if Russian forces intensify their assaults to capitalize on the brief window before the arrival of new U.S. aid,” analysts from the Institute for the Study of War, a research group based in Washington, highlighted over the weekend.

Lieutenant Oleksandar remarked that the Russians seemed resolute recently in pouring numerous resources into the conflict swiftly to capitalize on Ukraine’s dwindling arsenal.

“The Russians are sparing no expense, deploying both air bombs and artillery,” he stated. “They can unleash up to two or three Lancets for every one of our cannons in a day, with each Lancet costing more than the cannon itself,” he added, mentioning one of Russia’s most advanced drones.

Franz-Stefan Gady, a consulting senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, expressed that despite the U.S. aid, the air defense situation “will remain challenging for many months ahead.” Nevertheless, the renewed U.S. support will empower European nations to enhance their own arms manufacturing capabilities, he noted.

Mick Ryan, a retired Australian Army major general and fellow at the Lowy Institute, a research organization in Sydney, highlighted that while replenishing air defenses and artillery remains a top priority for Ukraine, the bill also allows for crucial yet less visible support. This encompasses “spare parts for US tanks and armored vehicles, drones, mortars, radios, engineering equipment, and the array of gear essential on the contemporary battlefield,” he elaborated on his Substack platform.

In the absence of American aid flowing into Ukraine earlier this year, Russia was able to seize over 360 square kilometers, equivalent to about 139 square miles, of territory, as per the Institute for the Study of War.

As Ukraine shifted primarily to a defensive stance, the Russian military arsenal received bolstering through the delivery of missiles and drones from Iran and North Korea, while Chinese support assisted Moscow in mitigating the impact of sanctions, facilitating the conversion of the Russian economy to a wartime footing.

American officials reported that Russia has managed to replace more than 315,000 troops who were killed or wounded in battle.

The Russian military currently stands at 15 percent larger than it was during the invasion of Ukraine, as stated by Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the head of U.S. European Command, in his testimony to Congress prior to Saturday’s vote.

Ukrainian officials have cautioned that Russia is laying the groundwork for a more extensive offensive in late spring or early summer.

While the Russian forces have not yet exploited Ukraine’s deficiency in both manpower and weapons to achieve a significant breakthrough, military analysts warn that they still possess the capability to make substantial advancements in the weeks ahead.

Russian troops are advancing further west of the city of Avdiivka, near Lieutenant Oleksandar’s artillery position on Saturday. Simultaneously, they are intensifying attacks on the strategically important hilltop fortress of Chasiv Yar in eastern Ukraine.

In the event that the forces from the Kremlin manage to capture the significant elevated terrain in that region, a cluster of the most populous urban centers in the Donbas area still remaining under Ukrainian authority could face a threat.

Simultaneously, towns and cities all over the nation continued to be struck by Russia using long-distance drones and missile attacks, causing destruction to residential structures, port infrastructure, and energy installations.

Allies of Ukraine have expressed their determination to swiftly acquire more advanced aerial defense systems like the Patriot missiles manufactured in America, deployed around Europe to aid Kyiv. However, Ukrainians anticipate that Moscow will seek to inflict as much harm as possible before these systems are deployed.

As they have been doing consistently for more than two years, rescue teams from Odesa on the Black Sea to Sumy near the northern border of Ukraine with Russia have been hurrying to extract individuals from the debris of structures that have been bombed, while the House voted on Saturday.

“Yet this day stands out in some way,” remarked President Volodymyr Zelensky during his address to the nation on Saturday night. “Today, we have received the much-awaited decision: the American support package that we have been vigorously advocating for.”

The Kremlin, identified by U.S. lawmakers as leading a sophisticated campaign to influence American public opinion and undermine backing for Ukraine, responded with a combination of bravado and rage.

Dmitri S. Peskov, the spokesman for the Kremlin, stated that the military assistance would merely contribute to the “destruction” of Ukraine. He cautioned that if the provisions in the legislation allowing the United States to claim billions from frozen Russian central bank assets for the purpose of reconstructing Ukraine are enforced, America “will have to be accountable.”

A 30-year-old Ukrainian brigade leader, Lieutenant Colonel Oleksii Khilchenko, engaged in combat around Robotyne on the southern front, mentioned that the new armaments would enable Ukrainians to engage in battle “even more fiercely and resolutely.”

“The backing from American society will safeguard the lives of our soldiers and fortify them across the entirety of the frontline,” he expressed. “We will utilize this aid to bolster our military strength and bring an end to this conflict—a conflict that Russia must be defeated in.”

Moreover, the vote in the House boosted the morale of the legion of volunteers who have been supporting Ukrainian troops throughout the war.

“Today is truly a wonderful day,” declared Olena Detsel, the founder of the volunteer organization, Three in a Canoe, which fundraises for urgent soldier needs.

“The news of financial support from the U.S.A. is akin to a breath of fresh air,” she conveyed in a text message. “It underscores the realization that we are not alone in this battle.”

Liubov Sholudko contributed to the report.