US President Biden approves drawdown of up to $1B in weapons for Ukraine

US President Joe Biden approved on Wednesday the drawdown of up to $1 billion in weapons for Ukraine from the Pentagon’s stockpile.

The Pentagon also approved another $850 million in security assistance for Ukraine under its Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

This will bring total US military assistance for Ukraine to an unprecedented $21.9 billion since 2021.

“Today’s assistance for the first time includes the Patriot Air Defense System, capable of bringing down cruise missiles, short range ballistic missiles, and aircraft at a significantly higher ceiling than previously provided air defense systems,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in Washington today where he will meet with Biden and other senior US officials before heading to the US Capitol. Zelenskyy will address a joint session of Congress where bipartisan support for Ukraine is expected to be reaffirmed with nearly $40 billion in support for Kyiv in 2023.

“Over the past three hundred days, the Kremlin has tried and failed to wipe Ukraine off the map,” Blinken said. “Now, Russia is trying to weaponize winter by freezing and starving Ukrainian civilians and forcing families from their homes.”

Some of the weapons and capabilities in the State Department’s $1 billion package will include: One Patriot air defense battery and munitions; Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS); 500 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds; 10 120mm mortar systems and 10,000 120mm mortar rounds; High-speed Anti-radiation missiles (HARMs).

From the Pentagon’s $850 USAI package, Ukraine is expected to receive: 45,000 152mm artillery rounds; 20,000 122mm artillery rounds; 50,000 122mm GRAD rockets; 100,000 rounds of 125mm tank ammunition; SATCOM terminals and services.

To meet Ukraine’s evolving battlefield requirements, the United States will continue to work with its allies and partners to provide Ukraine with key capabilities, the Pentagon said in announcing the new weapons package.

USAI is an authority under which the United States procures capabilities from industry rather than delivering equipment that is drawn down from Pentagon stockpiles.

“The Patriot system will augment previous air defense capabilities the United States has provided Ukraine, which include NASAMs, missiles for HAWK air defense systems, Stingers, and equipment to counter the Russian use of unmanned aerial vehicles,” the Pentagon.

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