By Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com
On Thursday, the Biden administration announced over $2.8 billion in military aid for Ukraine and US allies in the region. The announcement came as Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a surprise visit to Kyiv, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin chaired a meeting of defense ministers in Germany.
In Kyiv, Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other officials and said that the administration was providing $2.2 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Ukraine and 17 other countries in the region.
FMF is a State Department program that gives money to foreign governments that they can use to purchase US-made military equipment. The $2.2 billion is being pulled from the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill President Biden signed in May, which authorized $4 billion for FMF.
According to The Associated Press, about $1 billion of the $2.2 billion will go to Ukraine. The remaining funds will be divided among Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
Over at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, Austin told a group of officials representing over 50 countries, known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, that President Biden approved a new $675 million weapons package for Ukraine.
According to the Pentagon, the arms package includes:
- Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS)
- Four 105mm Howitzers and 36,000 105mm artillery rounds
- Additional High-speed Anti-radiation missiles (HARM)
- 100 Armored High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV)
- 1.5 million rounds of small arms ammunition
- More than 5,000 anti-armor systems
- 1,000 155mm rounds of Remote Anti-Armor Mine (RAAM) Systems
- Additional grenade launchers and small arms
- 50 armored medical treatment vehicles
- Night vision devices and other field equipment
The Pentagon said that the new aid brings the total military assistance the US has pledged since Russia invaded on February 24 to more than $14.5 billion. The $675 million is also being pulled from the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill. The Biden administration told Congress last week that it seeks another $13.7 billion for Ukraine aid as the funds are close to running out.
Austin told the contact group that the new aid will help support Ukraine for the “long haul” as there are no signs that the war will be ending anytime soon. The US and NATO have made clear that they are prepared to support the war against Russia for years to come.
“We will work together to train Ukraine’s forces for the long haul. We will work together to help integrate Ukraine’s capabilities and bolster its joint operations for the long haul,” Austin said.
“We will work together to upgrade our defense industrial basis to meet Ukraine’s requirements for the long haul, and we will work together for production and innovation to meet Ukraine’s self-defense needs for the long haul,” he added.
Austin said that the US and its allies are seeing the “demonstrable success” of their support for Ukraine on the battlefield. But Ukraine is taking heavy losses in its southern counteroffensive and doesn’t appear to be regaining territory.