By Kyle Anzalone / Antiwar.com
Reuters reports unnamed officials in the Biden administration say a new $1 billion weapons package is waiting for the president’s signature. The next arms transfer will be the 18th since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
President Joe Biden will use the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) to fund the security assistance package. In May, Congress placed billions into the PDA, allowing the White House to send Kiev increasingly sophisticated weapons with little oversight. According to the Department of Defense, the new package will bring the total military aid for Kiev to nearly $10 billion.
While the details of the new aid package have yet to be finalized, it is expected to include more long-range rockets and air defense ammunition. The US has shipped 16 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to Ukraine. A Ukrainian official recently said the US was consulted about an attack on Russian forces using the long-range rocket system.
Moscow claims that Washington’s assistance for Kiev now amounts to direct war between the two countries. Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said, “Washington is directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has repeatedly warned the transfer of HIMARS to Ukraine will cause Moscow to take more territory.
The White House has not commented on the package. The anonymous officials speaking with Reuters said National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) and as many as 50 M113 armored medical transports will likely be included as well.