Pentagon Announces $2 Billion Weapon Package for Ukraine on Anniversary of Russian Invasion On Friday, the Pentagon announced a new security assistance package for Ukraine, valued at $2 billion. The announcement came on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and included a variety of small, high-tech drones, as well as ammunition and weapons to counter Russia’s unmanned systems. The upgraded Switchblade 600 Kamikaze drone was among the drones listed, as well as electronic warfare detection equipment.
The aid package also includes funding for additional ammunition, including artillery rounds and munitions for laser-guided rocket systems, for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems. However, no details were provided on how many rounds of any kind will be purchased. The U.S. has now committed over $32 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion.
In a statement, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion is a chance for all who believe in freedom “to recommit ourselves to supporting Ukraine’s brave defenders for the long haul, and to recall that the stakes of Russia’s war stretch far beyond Ukraine.” He urged everyone to remain clear-eyed about what is at stake in Ukraine, “to ensure that a world of rules and rights is not replaced by one of tyranny and turmoil.”
The aid package was announced just days after President Joe Biden made an unannounced visit to Kyiv, where he pledged America’s continuing commitment to Ukraine, telling President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his people that “Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you.” Biden was scheduled to meet virtually on Friday with other Group of Seven leaders and Zelenskyy “to continue coordinating our efforts to support Ukraine and hold Russia accountable for its war,” according to the White House.
The White House also announced that “sweeping” sanctions on over 200 people and entities will be implemented, “to further degrade Russia’s economy and diminish its ability to wage war against Ukraine.” The Biden administration will also further restrict exports to Russia and raise tariffs on some Russian products imported to the U.S.
According to the Pentagon, the latest aid package uses the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to provide funding for longer-term contracts to buy weapons and equipment. The USAI-funded equipment could take a year or two to get to the battlefront, so it will do little to help Ukraine prepare for an expected new offensive in the spring. The money will also buy mine clearing and communications equipment and fund training, maintenance, and sustainment for Ukraine’s forces.
Over the past year, international partners have announced increasingly lethal weapons systems to help Ukraine defend itself. Allies and partners, including the U.S., have committed more than $20 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including tanks, armored vehicles, air-defense systems, artillery systems, and weapons.
In April 2022, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Kyiv to meet with Zelenskyy, where he launched a now-monthly meeting of ministers of defense and defense chiefs to ensure that momentum on assisting Ukraine does not fade. The most recent meeting was held last week in Brussels, and the sessions have resulted in regular announcements by international partners.
The effort to support Ukraine has put pressure on international weapons stockpiles, leading to the formation of a spin-off group of the chief weapons buyers for each partner nation. They now meet regularly to address the demand for equipment and ensure that manufacturing meets the needs.
The U.S. continues to stand with Ukraine against Russian aggression and has committed significant resources to support Ukraine’s defense. The latest aid package announced by the Pentagon is part of ongoing efforts to provide Ukraine with the necessary resources to counter Russian aggression and defend its sovereignty.