Defense

State uses first Biden-era emergency declaration to approve ammunition sale to Ukraine

The Department of State is seen in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.
Greg Nash
The Department of State is seen in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

The State Department has used its first Biden-era emergency declaration to approve a $165 million ammunitions sale to Ukraine.

In a statement, the agency said that it has “determined and provided detailed justification that an emergency exists that requires the immediate sale to Ukraine” of the defense articles, thereby circumventing normal congressional review requirements.  

The agency added that the sale will “improve Ukraine’s capability to meet current and future threats by maintaining the operational readiness of its forces.”

“The provision of non-standard and legacy Warsaw Pact ammunition will enable the Armed Forces Ukraine to defend itself against ongoing threats and enhance national defense,” the agency said.

Ukraine is asking for nonstandard ammunition, such as rounds for grenade launchers, mortars and D-20 cannons. Kyiv already has items or versions of the items it is requesting, so it will have “have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”

The weapons sale to Ukraine comes less than a week after President Biden committed $800 million in weapons to Kyiv, which included heavy artillery, howitzers and “Phoenix Ghost” tactical drones that had been under development by the Air Force.

Biden said on Thursday that he will request Congress approve supplemental funding for Ukraine as he nears the end of the authority he was provided under the $1.5 trillion bill he signed in March to fund the government through September.

The administration has rolled out about $3.4 billion since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Biden has largely relied on his presidential drawdown authority to rush to Kyiv weapons that are already in the Pentagon’s stockpile.

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