US to send $200 million in military aid to Ukraine

FILE - Airmen with the 436th Aerial Port Squadron use a forklift to move 155 mm shells ultimately bound for Ukraine, April 29, 2022, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The Pentagon will provide Ukraine with another $200 million in weapons and ammunition to help sustain its counteroffensive as troops on the front lines face significant hurdles against a well-entrenched Russian defense. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) (Alex Brandon, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon will provide Ukraine with $200 million in weapons and ammunition to help sustain Kyiv’s counteroffensive as troops on the front lines face significant hurdles against a well-entrenched Russian defense, according to two U.S. officials.

This latest package will include missiles for the High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and the Patriot air defense system, munitions for howitzers and tanks, Javelin rockets, mine-clearing equipment, 12 million rounds of small arms ammunition and demolition munitions, said a U.S. official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the aid has not yet been publicly announced.

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The aid comes as the U.S. funding for Ukraine is nearly all spent and the Biden administration is expected to request a new package of supplemental aid from Congress to continue that support.

Ukraine has already received more than $43 billion from the U.S. since Russia invaded last year. Those funds have provided weapons systems like howitzers and millions of rounds of ammunition to fight back against the much larger Russian military. Due to the intense and bloody land war there, much of the ammunition and weaponry has already been used up.

In eastern areas of the country, intense fighting between the two sides means that along the front line, “multiple changes” in position and control take place within a day, Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, said Wednesday on her official Telegram channel.

The Biden administration is funding the Ukraine war effort through two programs. presidential drawdown authority, or PDA, which pulls weapons from existing U.S. stockpiles; and the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, or USAI, which funds long-term contracts for larger weapons systems like tanks that need to be either built or modified by defense companies. Both funding tracks run through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

The administration would already be out of PDA money for fiscal year 2023 if the Pentagon had not discovered it made an accounting error by overvaluing previous rounds of weapons systems given to Ukraine. As a result, it has about $6.2 billion left in PDA money to keep support going until Congress approves additional funds. This latest aid package of $200 million is being drawn from that surplus.

“We feel confident that we can continue to supply Ukraine with what it needs on the battlefield,” Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said at a press briefing Tuesday. “I’m just not going to get ahead of anything in terms of any supplemental or any additional requests to Congress.”

There is also about $600 million remaining in fiscal year 2023 USAI funds.