Wednesday, February 28, 2024

$1 Billion in Additional Military Assistance to Ukraine

Washington, DC – President Biden, in a statement, announced an additional $1 billion in security assistance for Ukraine. “This new assistance will support Ukraine’s most urgent needs for artillery, as well as near-term priorities for coastal defense, secure communications and optics,” said a senior defense official.

“We also remain committed to supporting the Ukrainian people whose lives have been ripped apart by this war. Today, I am also announcing an additional $225 million in humanitarian assistance to help people inside Ukraine, including by supplying safe drinking water, critical medical supplies and health care, food, shelter, and cash for families to purchase essential items,” said President Biden.

President Zelenskyy noted that the security assistance package is especially important for Ukraine’s defense efforts in Donbas. In a conversation with President Biden today, Zelenskyy discussed the tactical situation on the battlefield and ways to accelerate their victory. 

Briefing reporters at the White House, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said the $ 1 billion package includes “a drawdown of security assistance valued up to $350 million — that’s where the Department of Defense pulls from their stocks; as well as $650 million in equipment that’s provided through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds — that’s where the Pentagon will go out and procure material according — in that amount to then just provide directly to Ukraine. So, there are two different buckets of that billion dollars.” This is the 12th drawdown that President Biden has authorized to help Ukraine.

A senior defense official said that DoD has been using USAI to support Ukraine since 2015, when Russia invaded Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.

Briefing the press after the third meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Defense Secretary Austin said, “Since the contact group first came together nearly three months ago, we built tremendous momentum for donations and delivery of military assistance.”. “We’ll bolster Ukraine’s armed forces to help them repel Russian aggression now in the future,” the secretary said. “So we’ll continue working closely and intensively together with this contact group. We’ll keep on strengthening our support for Ukraine’s self-defense and will continue to stand up for the rules-based international order that protects us all.” 

In a joint statement, the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany committed to providing Ukraine with Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) with Guided MLRS (GMLRS) rockets. Ukraine has specifically requested this capability, which will allow the Ukrainian Armed Forces to engage the invading force with accurate fire at ranges of approximately 70 kilometers. 

In his address today, President Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian army proved that courage and wisdom on the battlefield, together with the ability to defeat the enemy tactically, give significant results, despite the substantial advantage of the Russian army in the number of soldiers and equipment. “Of course, we will do our best to outmatch their advantages for now. Every day I fight for Ukraine to get the necessary weapons and equipment. But courage, wisdom, and tactical skills cannot be imported. Our heroes have it.”

 

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