Pentagon unveils $820 million security assistance package for Ukraine

·2 min read

The Department of Defense on Friday unveiled an $820 million weapons package for Ukraine, which includes advanced air defense systems.

In a statement, acting Pentagon press secretary Todd Breasseale said $770 million of the assistance will be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows the agency to procure the weapons from defense contractors.

The remaining $50 million in security aid will come from presidential drawdown authority, which allows the Pentagon to send Ukraine weapons from its own stockpiles. This will be the fourteenth drawdown of equipment under that authority since August 2021.

President Biden hinted at the security aid during a press conference on Thursday following a NATO summit in Madrid.

During the press conference, Biden said that the U.S. would support Ukraine “as long as it takes” to make sure that it is not defeated by Russia.

The aid also follows a separate $450 million shipment of military aid to Ukraine announced last week, which included four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and patrol boats, among other equipment.

With Friday’s announcement, the U.S. has committed $7.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including $6.9 billion since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24.

Under the USAI, the Pentagon will procure two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, also known as Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS).

National security adviser Jake Sullivan hinted on Monday that the U.S. would be giving Ukraine advanced air defense systems but didn’t specify a particular system. CNN previously reported that the administration would provide the Norwegian-developed system, which can hit targets up to 100 miles away.

In addition to the NASAMS, the U.S. will also use the $770 million in USAI funds to procure up to 150,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition and four counter-artillery radars.

The administration will separately use the $50 million in presidential drawdown authority to send additional ammunition for the HIMARS that the administration has already sent.

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