By: Micaela Burrow, Daily Caller News Foundation
The Biden administration announced $2.6 billion in security assistance for Ukraine, $2.1 billion of which will go toward sourcing new munitions directly from American manufacturers.
As Ukraine’s forces gather strength to launch an imminent spring counteroffensive, the Biden administration is working with partners to secure both short and long term weapons assistance for Ukraine, the Pentagon said in a statement. The larger block of funding — 2.1 billion authorized through the Department of Defense’s Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) — includes air defense capabilities, as well as thousands of rounds of artillery ammunition, mortar systems, rockets and anti-tank weapons.
“The announcement of this USAI package represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional capabilities to Ukraine’s Armed Forces,” the statement said. “The United States will continue to work with its Allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements.”
Also in the package is $500 million in munitions for Patriots and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and support vehicles taken directly from existing U.S. military stockpiles, according to the statement. Equipment from what is now the 35th dip into Presidential Drawdown Authority will help fill Ukraine’s immediate needs, officials told The Associated Press.
Tuesday’s package brings the total amount of security assistance authorized for Ukraine to $35 billion, according to a DOD fact sheet.
The package includes a broad array of munitions, including 23 million rounds of small arms ammunition and an unspecified number of counter-drone rockets, Javelins and 155mm rounds.
We very much appreciate everything that the United States has done specifically in the last month to help our army prepare itself for the counteroffensive,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said at NATO headquarters in Brussels before a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to the AP. “The Biden administration has upheld its commitment to provide Ukraine with a lot of what we need and set an example to other allies.”.
While Ukraine gears up for the counteroffensive, a grinding fight is playing out in the eastern region and concentrated around the city of Bakhmut, which has for weeks teetered between Russian and Ukrainian control.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has expressed reluctance to concede defeat in Bakhmut, saying a premature surrender of the city would “sell this victory to the West, to his society, to China, to Iran,” according to the AP.
Russia continues to launch missiles and drone attacks on cities across the country, the AP reported.