As the Biden administration on Thursday announced billions of dollars in additional aid for Ukraine\u0026#039;s defense against Russian invaders, peace activists renewed calls for a diplomatic solution to the nearly seven-month war.\r\n\r\n\u0022We, the people, have to rise up with a demand of negotiations, not escalation.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The White House and Congress are fueling this war with a steady stream of weapons instead of pushing for talks to end the conflict,\u0022 Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace group CodePink, said in a statement. \u0022That\u0026#039;s why we, the people, have to rise up with a demand of negotiations, not escalation.\u0022\r\n\r\nCodePink and other anti-war groups including Veterans for Peace, World Beyond War, and Peace Action are set to launch a global week of action for peace in Ukraine next Monday. Demonstrations are scheduled in U.S. cities including Washington, D.C., metropolitan Boston, Milwaukee, Nashville, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Pasadena.\r\n\r\n\u0022Rather than push for a protracted war, the White House and Congress should support a diplomatic solution along the lines of the MINSK II Peace Accord, signed by both Ukraine and Russia in 2015, to declare Ukraine a neutral non-NATO country and hold elections in the eastern region of Ukraine,\u0022 CodePink said in a statement announcing the week of action.\r\n\r\n\u0022Instead the U.S. government has budgeted $40 billion to escalate the war with weapons, military equipment, troop training, and intelligence, with zero accountability or oversight for taxpayer dollars,\u0022 the group added. \u0022The same amount of money could have paid for 350,000 nurses or 400,000 elementary school teachers.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nU.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $2.8 billion in new military assistance to Ukraine and 17 other regional nations while on an unscheduled visit to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv Thursday.\r\n\r\nBlinken said that \u0022the war\u0026#039;s terrible toll continues to mount\u0022 over six months after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion.\r\n\r\nDecrying the \u0022thousands of civilians killed or wounded, 13 million Ukrainian civilians forced to flee their homes, historic cities pounded to rubble, horrifying reports of ongoing atrocities, nuclear power stations put at risk, food shortages, [and] skyrocketing food prices around the world,\u0022 Blinken reaffirmed that \u0022we stand united with Ukraine.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe secretary of state said that he was authorizing a $675 million drawdown of \u0022additional arms, munitions, and equipment from U.S. Department of Defense inventories.\u0022\r\n\r\nThis weaponry includes howitzers, artillery munitions, Humvees, armored ambulances, anti-tank systems, and more, and comes as Ukrainian military forces wage counteroffensives on multiple fronts.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022In addition,\u0022 Blinken continued, \u0022we are also notifying Congress today of our intent to make a further $2.2 billion available in long-term investments under Foreign Military Financing to bolster the security of Ukraine and 17 of its neighbors, including many of our NATO allies, as well as other regional security partners potentially at risk of future Russian aggression.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022These announcements will bring the total U.S. military assistance for Ukraine to approximately $15.2 billion since the beginning of this administration,\u0022 Blinken added.