Biden administration authorizes $350 million for military aid to Ukraine
The Biden administration on Monday approved a new $350 million military aid package for Ukraine, U.S. officials said, a critical injection as Ukraine grapples with ammunition shortages and prepares for a spring offensive.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in a statement that the aid package would include more ammunition for howitzers and HIMARS rocket launchers – the American-made truck-mounted rocket system – in addition to “ammunition for Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, HARM missiles, anti – tank weapons, river boats and other equipment.
This additional removal of military equipment from Pentagon inventory is the 34th since last August, the Department of Defense said in a statement. “To meet Ukraine’s changing demands on the battlefield, the United States will continue to work with allies and partners to provide Ukraine with key capabilities,” the statement added.
The Biden administration has authorized drawdowns worth approximately $19.95 billion since August 2021. In total, the United States. has committed more than $32.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the war began, according to the Department of Defense.
Ammunition shortages are of particular concern for Ukraine’s military, which is using artillery shells faster than its Western allies can produce and supply. This sometimes led to far fewer artillery shells being fired than they otherwise would.
Ukrainian troops burned equipment in Bakhmut, a town in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine that was devastated by a grueling months-long battle. The army uses thousands of artillery shells a day as it tries to hold the city.
European Union foreign and defense ministers also agreed on Monday to spend up to 2 billion euros, or $2.14 billion, to supply Ukraine with artillery shells, increasing European ammunition production and replenish their own national stocks. Details of the deal are yet to be finalized.