US announces another major arms package for Ukraine
The US will send another $600 million in military assistance to Ukraine on top of the $675 million package announced last week, President Joe Biden said on Thursday. The White House did not specify what the latest disbursement will consist of, only that it would be a drawdown of Defense Department “articles and services.”
A memo posted on the White House website authorized Secretary of State Antony Blinken to “direct the drawdown of up to $600 million in defense articles and services of the Department of Defense, and military education and training,” to Ukraine.
The Pentagon later clarified that the latest aid package will include “additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS),” thousands of 105mm and precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds, counter-artillery radars, and anti-drone systems. It will also include anti-personnel mines, small arms and ammunition, as well as night vision goggles and cold weather gear.
Noting the contents of the $600 million aid package, the Defense Department mentioned that it was the 21st such “drawdown” since August 2021.
Earlier on Thursday, the Pentagon announced a $311-million contract with Lockheed Martin and Raytheon for replenishing the stocks of Javelin anti-tank missiles depleted by deliveries to Kiev.
Since Russia sent troops into Ukraine in February, the Biden White House has pledged a total of $44.3 billion in aid to Kiev. Only part of it has been in cash, however, while the rest was the assessed value of weapons, ammunition, and training offered by the Pentagon. As of last week, the purely military aid amounted to $14.5 billion since February, on top of the $17.2 billion funneled into Ukraine since the 2014 coup.
Meanwhile, the National Defense Industrial Association estimated the US military will experience a $110 billion loss in purchasing power in the next fiscal year due to runaway inflation, arguing that the Pentagon will need $42 billion added to the budget just to keep up.