US sending slew of additional weapons to Ukraine to thwart Russian invaders
President Joe Biden has authorized the transfer of $800 million worth of additional weapons and other military equipment to Ukraine to help local forces take on Russian invaders, the White House announced Wednesday.
The package includes 800 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, as well as 2,000 Javelins, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons and 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems. The weapons are designed to destroy planes, helicopters, tanks and other vehicles.
The security assistance also includes: 100 tactical drones, 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, 400 shotguns, more than 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds, as well as 25,000 sets of body armor and 25,000 helmets, according to a White House fact sheet.
The inclusion of drones “demonstrates our commitment to sending our most cutting-edge systems to Ukraine for its defense,” Biden said in a tweet.
The direct transfer of equipment from the U.S. Department of Defense to the Ukrainian military is intended “to help them defend their country against Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion,” the White House said.
The United States has committed a total of $1 billion toward security assistance to Ukraine in recent days as Russia continues to attack major cities.
Since the large-scale Russian invasion kicked off on Feb. 24, the Kremlin’s forces have performed below the expectations of many U.S. military officials and analysts, while Ukrainians have put up stiff resistance with the help of foreign-supplied weapons.
At least 30 countries have provided security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion began. The Biden administration has provided $2 billion worth of security assistance since it took office, according to the White House.
“The United States and our allies and partners are fully committed to surging weapons and assistance to Ukraine. And more will be coming as we source additional stocks of equipment that is ready to transfer,” Biden tweeted.
The White House fact sheet identified additional types of weapons that could be on the way.
“In addition to the U.S.-produced short-range air defense systems the Ukrainians have been using to great effect, the United States has also identified and is helping the Ukrainians acquire additional, longer-range systems on which Ukraine’s forces are already trained, as well as additional munitions for those systems,” it said.
Providing security assistance for Ukraine has bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. The White House announcement came just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a video address to Congress asking for additional aid.
Some lawmakers say Biden isn’t doing enough.
“This half-measure by the president does not rise to the occasion. Instead of announcing $3 billion in new immediate military aid to the Ukrainians — which he has the authority to do — President Biden announced only $800 million,” Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. “We can and must send more now.”