US President Joe Biden ordered the transfer of 100 Switchblade kamikaze drone, 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, 2,000 Javelin anti-tank guided missiles, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons, 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems, 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, 400 shotguns, 20 million rounds, 25,000 sets of body armor and helmets. This brings the total of new U.S. security assistance to Ukraine to $1 billion just this week. The package enough to outfit about 10% of the entire Ukrainian armed forces‘ claimed pre-invasion strength. The latest package is made up of direct transfers of equipment from U.S. Department of Defense to the Ukrainian military.
“The world is united in our support for Ukraine and our determination to make Putin pay a very heavy price. We’re going to continue to do more in the days and weeks ahead. It’s about making sure Ukraine will never be a victory for Putin, no matter what advances he makes on the battlefield. The U.S. actually started helping Ukraine long before Russia invaded the country. We took the threat of Putin invading very seriously, and we acted on it. The package will also include drones, which demonstrates our commitment to sending our most cutting-edge systems to Ukraine for its defense,” Biden said at the White House this afternoon.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said DOD will move quickly to transfer these capabilities. “Through the additional authority provided in the fiscal 2022 Ukraine supplemental signed into law by the president yesterday, the U.S. Department of Defense is moving expeditiously on the fifth Presidential drawdown of security assistance,” he said in a written statement from Brussels where he is attending an extraordinary NATO Defense Ministerial. “Today’s drawdown, valued at up to $800 million, brings (the total) to more than $2 billion [in] U.S. security assistance commitment since the beginning of the administration.
The United States, working with allies and partners, has already levied crippling sanctions on Russia. The U.S. military has also deployed personnel and resources to the frontline states of the NATO alliance to ensure every inch of NATO territory is defended. The United States sent $650 million in security assistance beginning in March 2021. This included anti-air and anti-armor weapons that the Ukrainian military has used to great effect. So, when the invasion began, they already had in their hands the kinds of weapons needed to counter Russian advances. Once Putin started the war, the United States sent an additional $350 million.