Biden approves new $3 billion military equipment to Ukraine
US President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he is sending $2.98 billion in new military aid to Ukraine that would enable forces there to fight for years to come.
In a statement, US President Joe Biden said the newly instated $3 billion military assistance will allow Ukraine to acquire air defense systems, artillery systems and munitions, drones, and other equipment “to ensure it can continue to defend itself over the long term.” The announcement comes as Ukraine is celebrating its 1991 declaration of independence from the Soviet Union, marking Ukraine’s independence day holiday and the six-month point in the war.
“I know this independence day is bittersweet for many Ukrainians as thousands have been killed or wounded, millions have been displaced from their homes, and so many others have fallen victim to Russian atrocities and attacks,” Biden stated.
The weapons package is being provided under the so-called Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which entails that the US Department of Defense will provide Ukraine with "critical capabilities to defend against Russia". Officials said it will include money for the small, hand-launched Puma drones, the longer-endurance Scan Eagle surveillance drones, which are launched by catapult, and, for the first time, the British Vampire drone system, which can be launched off ships. Several officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the aid before its public release. Just last month, Biden approved a $400 million package in the series of Ukrainian military aid.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg noted the more extended focus Tuesday as he reaffirmed the alliance’s support for the conflict-torn country, commenting: “Winter is coming, and it will be hard, and what we see now is a grinding war of attrition. This is a battle of wills and a battle of logistics. Therefore we must sustain our support for Ukraine for the long term so that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign, independent nation,” Stoltenberg said, speaking at a virtual conference about Crimea, organized by Ukraine.
This comes after Stoltenberg said it was crucial to continue providing assistance to Ukraine, however, he admitted that it would be tough and that Europe would pay a price for its support to Kiev.
On Monday, the US Embassy in Ukraine and the State Department issued a new security alert for Ukraine that repeated a call for Americans in the country to leave due to the danger.
“Given Russia’s track record in Ukraine, we are concerned about the continued threat that Russian strikes pose to civilians and civilian infrastructure,” it said.
Packages on packages
Other NATO allies are also marking the independence day with new aid announcements, such as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announcing his country is providing more than 500 million euros (nearly $500 million) in aid, including powerful anti-aircraft systems. The aid will include rocket launchers, ammunition, anti-drone equipment, a dozen armored recovery vehicles, and three additional IRIS-T long-range air defense systems, the German news agency DPA reported. The funding must still be approved by parliament, and some of it won’t be delivered until next year.
And Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just announced $3.85 million for two Ukraine projects through the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program.
To date, the U.S. has provided about $10.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including 19 packages of weapons taken directly from Defense Department stocks since August 2021.
U.S. defense leaders are also eyeing plans that will expand training for Ukrainian troops outside their country, and for militaries on Europe’s eastern and southern flanks that feel most threatened by Russia’s aggression.