President Joe Biden approved the twentieth drawdown of equipment from the Department of Defense inventories for Ukraine.
The latest assistance package will total up to an additional $675 million in military aid. The package includes 100 Armored High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, 1.5 million rounds of small arms ammunition, four 105mm Howitzers and 36,000 105mm artillery rounds, and 1,000 155mm rounds of Remote Anti-Armor Mine Systems. The United States will also supply Ukraine and an unspecified number of grenade launchers and small arms as well as 50 armored medical treatment vehicles.
“In total, the United States has committed approximately $15.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since January 2021,” said the US Embassy in Ukraine on Sept. 8. “Since 2014, the United States has committed more than $17.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine and more than $14.5 billion since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion on February 24.”
While speaking at the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Ukrainian forces have begun counteroffensive measures in the southern regions of the nation which indicates “the war is at another key moment.”
“We will work together to train Ukraine’s forces for the long haul. We will work together to help integrate Ukraine’s capabilities and bolster its joint operations for the long haul,” Austin said at a meeting for the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, per AP News. “We will work together to upgrade our defense industrial basis to meet Ukraine’s requirements for the long haul, and we will work together for production and innovation to meet Ukraine’s self-defense needs for the long haul.”
The authorization came on the same day the State Department informed Congress of its plans to make an additional $2.2 billion “available in long-term investments” in order to “bolster the security of Ukraine and 18 of its neighbors.” This will include NATO members and other “regional security partners potentially at risk of future Russian aggression.”
“Ukraine’s extraordinary front-line defenders continue to courageously fight for their country’s freedom, and President Biden has been clear we will support the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement. “I reiterated this message to President Zelenskyy and his team today in Kyiv, which remains — and will remain — the capital of a sovereign, independent Ukraine.”
Blinken noted that the U.S. is currently providing security assistance to more than 50 countries “to support Ukraine’s defense.”
“The capabilities we are delivering are carefully calibrated to make the most difference on the battlefield,” he said.
Biden authorized a drawdown of DoD inventories for the first time in August of 2021, roughly five months before Russian forces invaded Ukraine. At the time, Biden pledged $60 million in military aid citing a “major increase in Russian military activity” along the Ukrainian border.