US announces $2.3 billion military aid package for Ukraine

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The US announced a new $2.3 billion military aid package for Ukraine on Wednesday, one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the US would soon provide Kyiv with more air defense interceptors and critical munitions.

The new package includes $150 million in artillery rounds, interceptor missiles and anti-tank weapons, according to the Pentagon. This portion of the package is drawn directly from US stockpiles under the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) and can be delivered quickly to Ukraine.

An additional $2.2 billion will be purchased for Ukraine from US arms manufacturers under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), a program that takes longer to supply the weapons but provides longer-term support for Kyiv. The USAI portion includes Patriot and NASAMS air defense missiles, two of the systems that have been critical in defending against ongoing Russian aerial barrages.

“The Biden Administration plans to accelerate delivery of these munitions by re-sequencing upcoming Foreign Military Sales deliveries for Ukraine,” the Pentagon said in announcing the new package. The $2.2 billion in USAI funding for Ukraine is one of the largest such packages the US has announced, though it is dwarfed by the $6 billion USAI package announced in late-April.

This is also the fifth military aid package for Ukraine since the passage of a $95 billion supplemental aid package in April, which included $61 billion in aid for Ukraine.

Since the passage of the supplemental, the US has kept up a steady rhythm of military aid to Ukraine, as the Biden administration has tried to help Kyiv slow a Russian offensive that began in May.

In addition to military aid, the US has also loosened some restrictions on Ukraine’s use of US weaponry, allowing Ukrainian forces to use American munitions to target Russian forces taking part in the offensive.

CNN also reported last month that the Biden administration was moving towards lifting a de facto ban on American military contractors deploying to Ukraine to help the country’s military maintain and repair US-provided weapons systems.

On Tuesday, Austin hosted Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov at the Pentagon. In opening statements before their meeting, Austin said the US would soon be announcing the $2.3 billion security package.

The US has provided approximately $53.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the war.

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