Pentagon announces new military aid for Ukraine worth $425M
Stars and Stripes November 3, 2023
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon on Friday announced new military aid for Ukraine worth $425 million as Congress grapples with a White House request to spend another $60 billion to help the embattled country beat back entrenched Russian forces.
The new aid consists of up to $125 million that includes additional air defense equipment, more than three million rounds of small arms ammunition, cold weather gear and various other maintenance and logistical items. This portion of the aid is being sent through presidential drawdown authority, which allows the Pentagon to take equipment and weapons from U.S. military stocks and send them to Europe on an emergency basis.
In addition, $300 million for laser-guided munitions to shoot down Russian drones will be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, or USAI. The funding for this aid is not for immediate battlefield use but to procure weapons and munitions from the defense industry or partner countries for a later time.
“[President Joe Biden’s] administration continues to call on Congress to meet its commitment to the people of Ukraine by passing additional funding to ensure Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself against Russia’s brutal war of choice,” the Pentagon said.
Though Congress has not yet authorized fiscal 2024 funding for the Defense Department, the Pentagon still has some money in drawdown authority that can be spent on aid for Ukraine.
The drawdown funds would have already run out if it wasn’t for an accounting error that the Pentagon uncovered in June that opened an additional $6.2 billion for Ukraine. The department had overestimated costs for missiles, ammunition and other equipment and that resulted in the unexpected surplus.
The $300 million in the package makes use of USAI funds provided by a continuing resolution that Congress recently passed and exhausts the remaining funds available to support Ukraine, the Pentagon said.
Congress must pass funding for 2024 by Nov. 17 to avoid a government shutdown after lawmakers agreed to a 45-day stopgap spending measure when the new fiscal year began Oct. 1.
The House passed a bill on Thursday to provide $14.3 billion to Israel as it fights a war against Hamas militants. Democrats have objected to the bill because it does not include aid for Ukraine and would enact funding cuts to the Internal Revenue Service.
The bill falls short of Biden’s request for nearly $106 billion that would also back Ukraine in its war against Russia, as well as U.S. efforts to counter China and address security at the border with Mexico.
The U.S. has committed about $44 billion to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country in February 2022.
Included in Friday’s new aid package for Ukraine:
• Additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems.
• Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.
• 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds.
• Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked, Wire-Guided missiles.
• Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems.
• More than 3 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades.
• Demolitions munitions for obstacle clearing.
• M18A1 Claymore anti-personnel munitions.
• 12 trucks to transport heavy equipment.
• Cold weather gear
• Spare parts, maintenance, and other field equipment.
Under USAI, Ukraine will receive:
• Additional laser-guided munitions to counter drones.