US has another batch of weapons headed to Ukraine

TOP Help for Ukraine 041924 AP Efrem Lukatsky

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the new batch of $6 billion for Ukraine at a Friday press briefing.


“This is the largest security assistance package that we’ve committed to date,” Austin said.


The aid will come through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which means the U.S. will purchase the weapons from defense contractors before sending to Ukraine. 


The new aid comes just days after a $1 billion package announced by the Biden administration, which is being pulled from U.S. stocks and should arrive much quicker than the weapons being purchased.


Both are being pulled from the $61 billion national security supplemental for Ukraine that President Biden signed into law on Wednesday.


The $6 billion package will include critical air defense munitions, including for the highly valued Patriot systems.


“We urgently need Patriot systems and missiles for them,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at a meeting with the U.S. and other allies on Friday.


The meeting was hosted by the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which celebrated its two-year alliance on Friday.


Zelensky also said he called for more long-range artillery. The U.S. secretly supplied Ukraine with the long-range versions of the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) earlier this month.


The Ukraine aid comes after months of delays that forced Ukrainian troops to ration ammunition on the battlefield and allowed Russia to gain the upper hand.


Gen. Charles Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Friday that the supplemental will give Ukrainian troops some breathing room even before weapons arrive.


Brown added it “gives them a bit more flexibility to be able to operate and use that capability effectively against the Russian threat.”


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