NATIONAL NEWS

US approves $1.3 billion package of long-term military aid for Ukraine

Jul 19, 2023, 11:46 AM

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrives for a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Grou...

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrives for a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at the Pentagon in Washington, Tuesday, July 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon announced a new $1.3 billion package of long-term military aid to Ukraine on Wednesday, including four air defense systems and an undisclosed number of drones.

The new assistance comes on the heels of a meeting Tuesday by defense and military leaders from around the globe to discuss ongoing efforts to give Ukraine the weapons it needs in its battle to retake territory seized by Russian forces.

Included in the aid, which is being provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, will be funding for four National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS, and munitions for them, as well as Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade drones.

Unlike the presidential drawdown authority that the Pentagon has used repeatedly over the past 17 months to pull weapons from its own stocks and quickly ship them to Ukraine, the USAI-funded equipment could take a year or two to get to the battlefront. As a result, this new package will do little to help Ukraine in its current offensive, but will help in future defense of its country.

The aid package included funding for artillery, mine-clearing equipment, a variety of missiles and munitions, trucks and other vehicles, port security equipment and systems to counter drones.

Overall the U.S. has provided more than $40 billion in military aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded in Feb. 2022. Of that, about $18 billion has been in longer term USAI funding, including the latest announcement.

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US approves $1.3 billion package of long-term military aid for Ukraine