US lethal aid shipments to Ukraine ‘already arriving,’ Pentagon says
The U.S. has already sent Ukraine “about a half a dozen” lethal aid shipments as part of the Biden administration’s $800 million package passed earlier this month, the Pentagon’s top spokesperson said Thursday.
“Those shipments are already arriving, in fact, from the time [President Biden] signed the order to the first shipment going on its way was like four days … and there’s already been about a half a dozen shipments that have flowed into the region,” press secretary John Kirby told reporters.
Kirby said the administration expects it will take “a couple of weeks” to complete shipments from the package, which included funding for a mixture of weapons systems and “support and sustainment items” including “food, body armor, helmets, small arms and ammunition, medical and first aid kits.”
“I would tell you that things aren’t sitting long at these intermediate staging shipment sites before they’re getting picked up by convoys and taken into Ukraine. So four days is pretty quick,” he added.
Javelin anti-tank missile systems and Stinger air defense systems are among the weapons included in the first few shipments to Ukraine, along with medical supplies, body armor and small arms and ammunition, Kirby said.
The U.S. has contributed about $2 billion to Ukraine over the past year. Forces there have fought off a Russian-backed separatist revolt in the country’s eastern region since 2014.
The $800 million military aid package is the largest single such package Washington has approved for Kyiv since Russia began its invasion in the country on Feb. 24.
Prior to that, Biden on March 12 directed the State Department to provide Ukraine $200 million in defense aid, after making a similar order for a $350 million aid package shortly after Russia invaded.
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