The Defense Department today announced a security assistance package for Ukraine valued at up to $250 million.
The package includes air defense capabilities, artillery and antitank weapons and other equipment to help Ukraine in its continued fight to counter Russia’s unprovoked invasion.
The latest round of assistance marks the 54th drawdown of military equipment for Ukraine from DOD inventories since August 2021.
It comes amid negotiations on Capitol Hill over President Joe Biden’s supplemental request to Congress to continue critical funding for military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
Defense officials have warned that, without action from Congress, further U.S. assistance for Ukraine could be in jeopardy at a critical time as Russia’s war approaches the two-year mark.
“We would, again, continue to urge the passage of the supplemental that we’ve submitted,” Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a briefing last week.
“As you look at the situation that Ukraine finds itself in, we will obviously continue to support them,” Ryder said. “But it is imperative that we have the funds needed to ensure that they get the most urgent battlefield capabilities that they require.”
In a recent letter to lawmakers, DOD comptroller Michael J. McCord said the department would be obligating the remaining $1 billion in funds authorized by Congress to replace U.S. inventories of weapons provided to Ukraine by the end of this month.
The security assistance package announced today is likely the last until Congress authorizes additional funds.
Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to Washington to meet with Biden, defense officials and lawmakers. During those talks, Zelenskyy extended his gratitude for the United States’ support and underscored his country’s urgent need for that support to continue.
After meeting with Zelenskyy at the White House, Biden pledged that the U.S. “will not walk away from Ukraine,” as he implored lawmakers to authorize additional funding.
“The brave people in Ukraine have defied [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s will at every turn, backed by the strong and unwavering support of the United States and our allies and partners in more than 50 nations in Europe and the Indo-Pacific,” Biden said. “Ukraine will emerge from this war proud, free and firmly rooted in the West unless we walk away.”
He said he would continue to provide U.S. military assistance for as long as congressionally approved funds are available.
“Without supplemental funding, we are rapidly coming to an end of our ability to help Ukraine respond to the urgent operational demands that it has,” he said.
“Putin is banking on the United States failing to deliver for Ukraine,” he continued. “We must prove him wrong.”
In introductory remarks ahead of Zelenskyy’s address at National Defense University in Washington, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III also underscored the United States’ “unshakable” commitment to supporting Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression.
“Ukraine matters profoundly to America’s security and to the trajectory of global security in the 21st century,” Austin said. “That’s why the United States has committed more than $44 billion in security assistance to Ukraine’s brave defenders.” He added that the U.S.-led coalition of allies and partners have also contributed more than $37 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.
Austin said those contributions include capabilities that “are making a crucial difference on the battlefield” and have helped Ukraine retake more than half of the territory seized by Russia since February 2022.
He said the U.S. and its allies and partners remain “determined to help Ukraine consolidate and extend its battlefield gains and to build a future force that can ward off Russian aggression in the years ahead.”