Six months after Russia invaded Ukraine, President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a new package of nearly $3 billion in weapons and equipment for Ukraine. It is the biggest tranche of military aid to date and signals that the U.S. — and Ukraine — are preparing for the war to drag on as fall and winter approach.
“This will allow Ukraine to acquire air defense systems, artillery systems and munitions, counter-unmanned aerial systems, and radars to ensure it can continue to defend itself over the long term,” Biden said in a statement.
The announcement comes as Ukraine celebrates its declaration of independence from the Soviet Union 31 years ago. “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 said. “Today and every day, we stand with the Ukrainian people to proclaim that the darkness that drives autocracy is no match for the flame of liberty that lights the souls of free people everywhere.”
The United States has committed more than $13.5 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including about $12.9 billion since Russia invaded on February 24.
The Defense Department said the latest aid includes weapons yet to be produced and that will take time to deliver, unlike some previous packages that consisted more of supplies being drawn down from Pentagon inventories. The new aid is aimed at “a year from now, two years from now” to signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he can’t simply wait for international support for Ukraine to erode, Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, told reporters at the Pentagon.
The new package includes:
• Six additional National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems with additional munitions;
• Up to 245,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition;
• Up to 65,000 rounds of 120mm mortar ammunition;
• Up to 24 counter-artillery radars;
• Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and support equipment for Scan Eagle UAS systems;
• VAMPIRE Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems;
• Laser-guided rocket systems; and
• Funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment.