Biden announces $3 billion defense package to Ukraine
As Ukraine celebrated 31 years of independence from the Soviet Union, the Biden administration announced plans to send $3 billion in security assistance for Ukraine on Wednesday. This will be Washington's largest package since Russia began its invasion over six months ago.
“The United States of America is committed to supporting the people of Ukraine as they continue the fight to defend their sovereignty,” Biden said in a statement. He explained that the combined $2.9 billion “will allow Ukraine to acquire air defense systems, artillery systems, and munitions, counter-unmanned aerial systems and radars to ensure it can continue to defend itself.”
The new package uses funds from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) allowing the Biden administration to allocate weapons to Ukraine from U.S. defense industries rather than authorizing weapons directly from the U.S. arsenal. The USAI finances America’s defense industry to produce military equipment for Ukraine.
Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig.Gen.Pat Ryder released a statement. The Department of Defense website says “This announcement represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional priority capabilities to Ukraine in the mid-and long-term to ensure Ukraine can continue to defend itself as an independent, sovereign, and prosperous state.” Included in the statement is a list of all materials being sent to Ukraine which includes Six Surface-to-Air Missile Systems(NASAMS) with added munitions for these systems, up to 245,000 rounds of 155m artillery munitions, up to 65,000 rounds of 120mm mortar ammunition, 24 counter-artillery radars, Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems(UAS) and support equipment for Scan UAS systems, VAMPIRE Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems, laser-guided rocket systems and funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment.
“Deliveries of this USAI package will begin in the next several months and will continue over the coming years.” Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said as he spoke to reporters at the Pentagon. Kahl also added, “while many of these capabilities are not intended to directly contribute to today's fight, they will form the backbone of a robust, future Ukrainian force capable of defending Ukraine for years to come.”
Since the announcement of the package, U.S. leaders have not detailed any further plans to send additional aid to Ukraine. Leaders are looking into plans to support the Ukrainian military by training troops outside their country.