New $200M aid package to send missiles, mine-clearing hardware to Ukraine
Stars and Stripes August 14, 2023
WASHINGTON — The United States will send Ukraine another package of military aid worth about $200 million that will include missiles, mine-clearing equipment and other vital hardware, defense officials said Monday.
“It includes additional air defense munitions, artillery and tank ammunition, anti-armor weapons and other equipment to help Ukraine counter Russia's ongoing war of aggression,” the Pentagon said.
The aid, worth as much as $200 million, is the 44th earmarked for Ukraine since mid-2021 under the presidential drawdown authority, which means the equipment is taken from Pentagon shelves and sent on an emergency basis.
Included in the aid are rockets for U.S.-made Patriot missile systems in Ukraine, various artillery and tank rounds and dozens of vehicles to tow equipment on land and water, officials said.
“The United States has committed more than $43.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including more than $43 billion since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion on February 24, 2022,” the Pentagon said.
Funding for the new aid comes from more than $6 billion that the Pentagon recently discovered due to an accounting error. Military officials uncovered the error in May and said it gave the Pentagon extra funds to ship weapons and equipment to Ukraine. The aid announced Monday is the first to dip into those excess funds, and it comes during a counteroffensive by Ukraine troops against Russian forces in various parts of the country’s eastern region to recover occupied territory.
“Every day, Russia is killing Ukrainian civilians and destroying civil infrastructure,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday in announcing the new aid package. “Russia started this war and could end it at any time by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine and stopping its brutal attacks. Until it does, the United States and our allies and partners will stand united with Ukraine.”
The new aid tranche is the latest in a series of security packages that the U.S. has committed to Ukraine in recent months. An $800 million package in early July included, for the first time, cluster munitions, which are weapons that burst in the air and disperse smaller bomblets across a large stretch of area. Ukrainian officials had asked the U.S. to send cluster munitions for months. Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s top spokesman, said Monday that the latest aid does not include additional cluster munitions.
Once the extra $6.2 billion in newly uncovered funds run out, new aid for Ukraine would have to be authorized by Congress. Some news reports have said President Joe Biden’s administration has been working on a supplemental budget request to Congress.
Ukraine has long requested F-16 fighter jets and M1 Abrams tanks, though both appear to be a ways off still. The U.S. and other partner countries have agreed to train Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16, but so far no country has pledged to send any planes to Ukraine. Almost three dozen Abrams tanks are being refurbished in the United States and the Pentagon has said they should start arriving in Ukraine in the next few months. Ukrainian troops are being trained to operate the tanks in Germany.
“We are confident we can provide those tanks when we said we would, which would be before the end of this year,” Ryder said Monday. “The training has gone well for those tank crews.”
Other items included in the new military aid:
Additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems.
AIM-7 missiles for air defense.
Stinger anti-aircraft systems.
Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.
31 155mm howitzers.
155mm artillery rounds and 105mm artillery rounds.
32 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles.
32 Stryker armored personnel carriers.
Tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missiles.
Javelin and other anti-armor systems and rockets.
Precision aerial munitions.
Penguin Unmanned Aerial Systems.
27 tactical vehicles to recover equipment.
10 tactical vehicles to tow and haul equipment.
Demolitions munitions and systems for obstacle clearing.
Small arms and more than 28 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades.
Spare parts and other field equipment.