Last Updated on August 25, 2022
The White House on Wednesday announced a $2.98 billion package of weapons and equipment for Ukraine, which will amount to the most expensive funding package sent since Russia invaded six months ago. President Biden claimed in a statement that the package “will allow Ukraine to acquire air defense systems, artillery systems and munitions, counter-unmanned aerial systems, and radars to ensure it can continue to defend itself over the long term.”
Prior to the announcement of the new package, the U.S. has given Ukraine $10.6 billion in security assistance spread out over multiple payments. Biden referred to the latest pledge as “”our biggest tranche of security assistance to date.”
Biden also praised the Ukrainian Armed Forces in his statement, saying, “Over the past six months, Ukrainians have inspired the world with their extraordinary courage and dedication to freedom. They have stood resolute and strong in the face of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.”
Biden’s announcement came on Ukraine’s Independence Day, which commemorates the nation’s 1991 split from the Soviet Union. “Today is not only a celebration of the past, but a resounding affirmation that Ukraine proudly remains — and will remain — a sovereign and independent nation,” Biden said.
The latest package includes more artillery, drones, radar and air defenses. It commits six additional surface-to-air missile systems, quadrupling the supply committed to Ukraine, plus hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition for howitzers and mortars being used by the Ukrainian armed forces.
Counter drone weapons known as Vampires will be provided for the first time, the White House stated.
The package is categorized under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, through which the United States contracts with defense-production contractors to fulfill orders for foreign clients. Much of the previously delivered equipment has come from existing stocks, The Washington Post reported.
Pentagon officials stressed that they are committed to funding Ukraine’s defense for several years if necessary. Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, said these weapons are not intended to affect “today’s fight” but to underscore “our commitment to supporting Ukraine for the long term.”
It will be months or years before some of the equipment in the latest package reaches Ukraine, Kahl said.
It is “the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional priority capabilities to Ukraine in the mid- and long-term to ensure Ukraine can continue to defend itself as an independent, sovereign and prosperous state,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement.
“This may be our largest security assistance package to date, but let me be clear, it won’t be our last,” Kahl added.