President Joe Biden granted his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, an additional $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion.
Biden informed in a statement published by the White House of his telephone conversation with Zelensky, where he specified that the assistance will include artillery, coastal defense systems, and rockets to support the Ukrainians in their defensive operations in the Donbas, in eastern Ukraine.
They also discussed efforts by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who is in Brussels today, to coordinate additional international support for Ukrainian forces.
The Pentagon detailed in a statement that the new package contains 18 155-millimeter Howitzer guns with 36,000 rounds of ammunition and 18 vehicles to transport them, as well as projectiles for HIMARS, a long-range missile system that the United States has provided to Kyiv.
The assistance also includes, among others, two Harpoon coastal defense systems and thousands of radio and night vision devices.
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The $1 billion also includes funds for training Ukrainian forces in the use of U.S. equipment and money for maintenance, transportation, and administrative costs.
The package is divided into $350 million in matériel drawn from the Defense Department’s existing inventory and $650 million from the so-called Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), a program authorized by Congress.
Through USAI, Washington allocates military equipment using private contractors, rather than drawing from its own inventory. According to the Pentagon, this is the first time that private contractors have been used to provide security equipment to the Ukrainian armed forces.
Apart from military aid, Biden announced Wednesday that the U.S. will give Ukraine an additional $225 million in humanitarian assistance to provide clean water, medical supplies, food, shelter, and money to Ukrainians.
Austin is participating Wednesday in the third meeting of the Ukraine support contact group in Brussels, where he urged the international community to step up its commitment to Ukraine’s self-defense and to continue sending arms to Kyiv.
According to Pentagon data, the United States has allocated some $5.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion last February 24, and more than $8.3 billion since 2014.