WASHINGTON ― U.S. President Joe Biden has authorized the State Department to send another $350 million in weapons, including Javelin anti-tank weapons, to help Ukrainian forces fight back the ongoing Russian invasion.
With Ukraine struggling to repel Russia’s tanks, bombers, helicopters and missiles, the new tranche would supply Ukrainian forces with anti-armor and anti-aircraft systems, ammunition for firearms and body armor, according to the State Department.
This marks the third time Biden has used his presidential drawdown authority to send emergency security assistance from U.S. stockpiles to Ukraine, and it brings the total commitment of U.S. security assistance to $1 billion for this year.
“It is another clear signal that the United States stands with the people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereign, courageous, and proud nation,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Previous tranches of U.S. aid have arrived by aircraft, and although Ukrainian airspace is now contested, U.S. aid will continue to flow to Ukraine, a senior U.S. defense official said Saturday.
“We’re going to look for additional venues to do that, especially now given that the president has authorized another $350 million worth of assistance,” the official said. “We’re going to do everything we can to get that into the hands of the Ukrainians.”
The official acknowledged Javelins would be part of the aid but declined to confirm that Stinger anti-aircraft missiles would be included. Ukraine’s defense minister this week asked for both, in a direct appeal to the U.S. Congress.
The White House has held talks with Congress about providing humanitarian and other military aid, as part of $4.6 billion in proposed new spending. There’s broad bipartisan support for the spending on Capitol Hill.
“I hope the anti-aircraft lethal aid in this package includes the Stingers requested by the Ukrainians. Ukraine is fighting like hell & this aid should have been there weeks ago,” the House Armed Services Committee’s top Republican, Rep. Mike Rogers, of Alabama, said on Twitter Saturday in response to the new U.S. package.
Sky News reports the U.S. was among two dozen nations that committed to give more weapons, medical supplies and other military aid to Ukraine. Reportedly, the action, which includes Canada and some countries outside NATO, stems from a donor conference call Friday night organized by the U.K.
Other countries have promised supplies to Ukraine in recent days. Among them, the Netherlands committed to supply 200 air defense rockets, Belgium will send 2,000 machine guns and 3,800 tons of fuel and Slovakia will send artillery ammunition and fuel.
The Associated Press reported Saturday the German government said it will also send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles as soon as possible. The move marked a significant change for the country.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point. It threatens our entire post-war order,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a statement. “In this situation, it is our duty to help Ukraine, to the best of our ability, to defend itself against Vladimir Putin’s invading army.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.