President BidenJoe BidenUngar-Sargon: Working class hit hardest by inflation Nevada county to consider counting all ballots by hand Biden to announce B in Ukraine military aid: report MORE on Wednesday announced $800 million in new lethal aid for Ukraine, bolstering U.S. support to the ex-Soviet nation as it ends the third week fighting Russian forces.
The latest tranche — part of the nearly $14 billion Congress appropriated for Ukrainian aid which Biden signed into law a day prior — brings the U.S. government’s total pledge of military assistance for the embattled nation to $1 billion in the past week and $2 billion since Biden took office.
The package includes anti-tank weapons, unmanned drones, small arms and ammunition among other crucial defense equipment.
The White House also said the U.S. is helping the Ukrainians “acquire additional, longer-range systems on which Ukraine’s forces are already trained, as well as additional munitions for those systems,” though it did not detail what those may be.
The administration was likely referring to the S-300 surface-to-air missile system, a Soviet-era defense system possessed by NATO ally Slovakia that could help against Russian airstrikes in Ukraine. Greece and Bulgaria also own the system.
But Ukrainian officials have not gotten everything they want to beat back the Russian incursion.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday made an impassioned plea to Congress and the nation, asking for a NATO-imposed no-fly zone over Ukraine, or at the very least, fighter jets – specifically MiG-29 aircraft that Poland has said it could transfer over to the country with the U.S. military’s help.
Administration officials have so far shot down both asks, fearing it may prompt Russia to escalate the war.
Biden has also repeatedly and staunchly said the United States will not put troops on the ground in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member.
Here’s what the U.S. is doing instead to bolster the Ukrainian military:
The $800 million military assistance package
- 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems — a lightweight, reusable launch system used to destroy helicopters or low-flying planes.
- 2,000 Javelin anti-armor systems – a shoulder-mounted, anti-tank weapon system that can target any vehicle that emits heat and can be operated by one person. Like the Stinger, its launcher is reusable.
- 1,000 light anti-armor weapons – man-held, vehicle armor-penetrating guns
- 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems – a Swedish-made, man-held, single-shot anti-armor weapon used by American special operations forces.
- 100 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems – Drones known as the Switchblade 300, a system equipped with cameras, guidance systems, and explosives
- 7,000 small arms including grenade launchers, rifles, pistols, machine guns, and shotguns
- Over 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition, artillery and mortar
- 25,000 sets of body armor and 25,000 helmets
The previous $1.2 billion
- More than 600 Stingers
- About 2,600 Javelins
- Five Mi-17 helicopters – Soviet-designed Russian military helicopters that Ukrainian pilots are trained on
- Three patrol boats
- Four counter-artillery and counter-unmanned aerial system tracking radars
- Four counter-mortar radar systems
- 600 small arms including grenade launchers, machine guns and shotguns
- Nearly 40 million rounds of small arms ammunition and more than 1 million grenade, mortar, and artillery rounds
- 70 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles and other vehicles
- Secure communications, electronic warfare detection systems, body armor, helmets, and other tactical gear
- Military medical equipment for treatment and combat evacuation
- Explosive ordnance disposal and demining equipment
- Satellite imagery and analysis equipment
The Omnibus spending bill
The behemoth spending bill includes $13.6 billion worth of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Of that, $6.5 billion will go toward the Pentagon to be roughly split between deploying U.S. troops to the region and sending defense equipment to Ukraine.
The types and amount of specific equipment shipped to Ukraine is unknown and could vary based on the ever-changing conflict, but the Pentagon said it would consider the following:
- Anti-air capabilities – including Stingers
- Anti-armor capabilities such as Javelins
- Small arms and ammunition
- Tactical gear such as clothing, body armor and helmets
- Meals Ready to Eat
- Military medical equipment such as first aid kits