Biden authorizes $100 million in weapons, equipment to Ukraine
The Biden administration announced $100 million in military assistance to Ukraine on Thursday, moments after the Senate sent a $40 billion supplemental aid package to the president’s desk.
The equipment will include additional artillery, radars and other equipment to Ukraine, President Biden said in a statement following passage of the Ukraine aid.
In a separate statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the weapons will be coming from the Pentagon’s existing inventories.
“These weapons and equipment will go directly to the front lines of freedom in Ukraine, and reiterate our strong support for the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their country against Russia’s ongoing aggression,” Biden said.
Thursday’s package is the 10th shipment of weapons to Ukraine under presidential drawdown authority, which allows the Pentagon to dig into its existing stockpiles. It also brings the total military assistance that the U.S. has provided to the country to $3.9 billion since Russia’s invasion began.
The equipment includes: 18 155 mm howitzers; 18 tactical vehicles to tow those howitzers as well as 18 artillery tubes; 3 AN/TPU 36 counter-artillery radars; and field equipment and spare parts, the Pentagon said. The U.S. has previously provided shipments of this equipment to Ukraine.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the weapons will start to flow “very, very soon.”
“I cannot give you an exact date of when it’s all going to show up in Ukraine, but you can imagine, having seen us do this in the past, that we’re not going to sit on our hands and will start flowing that stuff immediately,” he said.
Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urged Congress last week to advance the supplemental aid bill by Thursday in order to continue sending security assistance at the current pace.
Kirby said the package uses up the remaining $100 million of the $3.5 billion in drawdown authority that was passed in March as part of a $1.5 trillion bill to fund the government through September.
The $40 billion supplemental, which Biden is expected to sign, includes $9 billion for the Pentagon to replenish the weapons it sent to Ukraine, exceeding the administration’s request of $5 billion.
Updated 3:21 p.m.