Pentagon: ‘Vast majority’ of $350M in lethal aid to Ukraine has been delivered
The “vast majority” of a $350 million military aid package the U.S. promised to send Ukraine has reached the country, with most of the rest to be delivered within the next week, a senior U.S. defense official said Friday.
The package, approved by the White House on Feb. 26, two days after the Russian invasion, was fast-tracked after it was categorized as “a presidential drawdown,” a label that allows it to forego congressional notification, the official said.
About $240 million worth of the package has made it to Ukraine, including “the most-needed capabilities, like anti-armor capabilities,” they said.
The rest should arrive within days or weeks “but not longer,” the official added.
Washington is sending Kyiv equipment that it has also sent in the past so that the Ukrainians can use it “proficiently,” without any new training.
“I think all of us have been tremendously impressed by how effectively the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been using the equipment that we’ve provided them,” the official said, noting that “Kremlin watchers have also been surprised by this, and how they have slowed the Russian advance and performed extremely well on the battlefield.”
The U.S. has contributed more than $1 billion to help Ukraine’s military over the past year and has pledged more as Russia’s violent attack on the country drags on.
Washington has reportedly sent hundreds of Stinger missiles as part of the $350 million package, while the White House on Wednesday asked Congress to authorize an additional $10 billion in security, humanitarian and economic assistance for the country.
Another 14 countries have also contributed lethal aid to Kyiv since Moscow launched the incursion last week. The official said U.S. European Command has been coordinating the delivery of that assistance from other countries “to ensure that we are using our resources to maximum efficiency to support the Ukrainians in an organized way.”
A second defense official told reporters the weapons were getting into Ukraine through “multiple venues.”
“There are multiple venues through which the support is getting to the Ukrainians on the ground,” they said. “I really don’t want to get more specific than that. We want to be able to continue to help the Ukrainians as much and for as long as we can … so we’re going to be very careful about how we talk about how that support is getting into their hands.”
The second official also said the package is “the highest single drawdown authority in our history.”