Biden authorizes more weapons for Ukraine
US President Joe Biden ordered an additional $725 million in weapons shipments to Ukraine on Friday. The White House did not specify what the latest disbursement will consist of, only that it would be yet another drawdown of Defense Department “defense articles and services.”
The Pentagon later clarified that the aid package will include an unspecified quantity of “additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS),” thousands of 155mm artillery rounds and more than 200 additional Humvees.
Earlier this week, the US vowed to expedite the shipment of two of the eight NASAMS air defense systems it has long promised to Ukraine. The new package, however, will not include any additional anti-air capabilities.
Washington and its NATO allies pledged to boost Ukraine’s air defenses following heavy Russian missile strikes on Ukraine on Monday and Tuesday. Moscow said that they were in response to “terrorist tactics” employed by Kiev, which included sabotage attempts at the Kursk nuclear power plant and the TurkStream gas pipeline as well as the truck bombing of the Crimea Bridge.
The US has been the strongest supporter of Ukraine since the start of Russia’s military operation, providing the country with billions of dollars in military and financial aid, as well as intelligence data. Washington’s deliveries to Kiev have included large quantities of heavy weapons, among them over 150 artillery pieces, 20 Mi-17 helicopters, 200 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers, hundreds of Humvees and at least 16 HIMARS. The list includes more than 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, over 8,500 Javelin anti-tank weapons and 32,000 other anti-armor platforms, as well as at least 700 Switchblade suicide drones and an undisclosed number of Claymore anti-personnel mines.
Biden has used his Presidential Drawdown Authority to authorize the transfer of “surplus” weapons from the Pentagon’s stocks for the 23rd time since August 2021. This year alone, the United States “has committed more than $17.5 billion in security assistance” to Kiev, the Department of Defense confirmed on October 4.