Earlier this week, President Joe Biden moved to provide the Ukrainian government with yet more military aid as it continues to battle Russia.
Latest assistance package worth $550 million
A statement released by the Defense Department on Monday detailed Biden’s newest aid package, something it said is needed to address “evolving battlefield requirements.”
“Today, the Department of Defense (DOD) announces the authorization of a Presidential Drawdown of security assistance valued at up to $550 million to meet Ukraine’s critical security and defense needs,” it began.
“This authorization is the Biden Administration’s seventeenth drawdown of equipment from DoD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021,” the statement noted.
Among the latest weapons to go to Ukraine are an additional 75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition as well as more ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
The statement concluded by declaring that America “will continue to work with its allies and partners to provide Ukraine with key capabilities.”
Administration has already provided $8 billion in support
During a White House press conference on Monday, Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart on Friday about the latest aid authorization.
“This will be the 17th, now, time that the Biden administration has authorized the security assistance package using Presidential Drawdown Authority since President Biden took office, and it brings to more than $8 billion drawdown authority alone in material and security assistance for Ukraine just since the invasion began in late February,” he declared.
Kirby also addressed news that a ship containing agricultural products had departed from the Ukrainian port of Odessa on Monday.
“We obviously welcome this important step and we hope to see more ships depart in the coming days to travel onward to world markets with agricultural products such as grain, wheat, sunflower oil and corn,” he told reporters.
Kirby accused Russia of having “weaponized food” and complained that it has “effectively blockaded Ukraine’s ports since the beginning of this crisis.”
He urged “Russia to meet its commitments under this new arrangement, including by facilitating unimpeded exports of agricultural products from Black Sea ports in order to ease the food insecurity around the world.”