The United States has authorised an additional $150m in military aid for Ukraine, the State Department said, bringing the total of such assistance to $3.8bn since Russia’s invasion of the country began.
In a statement on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the package would include additional weapons and equipment from defence department inventories, without going into more detail.
“We will continue to provide Ukraine the arms its forces are effectively using to defend their country and the freedom of their fellow citizens,” said Blinken, adding that the military aid comes alongside other efforts by Washington to support Kyiv and put pressure on Moscow.
That includes support to document “atrocities” committed by Russian troops in their continuing invasion, the top US diplomat said, as well as curbs on the Russian economy.
“Taken together, these efforts will help strengthen Ukraine’s position at the negotiating table while continuing to isolate Russia from the world until it ends its senseless war of choice on Ukraine,” Blinken said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the country’s Western allies to send additional heavy weaponry to help Kyiv stave off a Russian offensive in the eastern Donbas region.
The latest US weapons package pales in comparison to the size of previous ones authorised by the Biden administration, however.
Today, the U.S. is continuing our strong support for the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their country. I am announcing another package of security assistance that will provide additional artillery munitions, radars, and other equipment to Ukraine. https://t.co/lpvJbFF9Q3
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 6, 2022
Last month, Washington approved two, $800m military aid packages for Ukraine, which included howitzer artillery systems and related ammunition, as well as armoured vehicles, helicopters and armed drones.
Earlier on Friday, US President Joe Biden said the new security assistance package would include “additional artillery munitions, radars, and other equipment”.
“US support, together with the contributions of our Allies and partners, has been critical in helping Ukraine win the battle of Kyiv and hinder Putin’s war aims in Ukraine,” he said in a statement.
Last week, Biden urged the US Congress to approve an additional $33bn in assistance to Ukraine.
Congress, which has the authority to allocate money for the executive branch, has approved $13.6bn in assistance to Kyiv as US lawmakers have almost unanimously backed aid for Ukraine so far.
But the Biden administration has said it already used much of the funds.
“Basically, we’re out of money,” Biden said on April 28. “And so that’s why today, in order to sustain Ukraine as it continues to fight, I’m sending Congress a supplemental budget request. It’s going to keep weapons and ammunition flowing without interruption to the brave Ukrainian fighters and continue delivering economic and humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian people.”
The US president reiterated that call in his statement on Friday, saying “Congress should quickly provide the requested funding to strengthen Ukraine on the battlefield and at the negotiating table”.