The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that the US would provide about $3 billion in additional military aid to Ukraine as Ukraine marked the start of an unprovoked invasion of Russia as well as six months after its Independence Day.
Although the earlier aid packages focused on meeting Ukraine’s urgent needs for arms and ammunition, the package aimed to ensure Ukraine’s medium- to long-term defense capabilities, funding contracts for weapons and equipment that would meet a Cannot be used for two years, the AP reported.
President Biden said in a statement, the roughly $2.98 billion security aid package will supply weapons and equipment through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which is the largest aid provided by the US.
“This will allow Ukraine to acquire air defense systems, artillery systems, and munitions, unmanned aerial systems and radars to ensure that it can continue to defend itself for a long period of time,” Biden said. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that, unlike previous packages, the weapons would not come from the Pentagon’s existing supplies, but would come directly from defense contractors.
That means some systems can take months or even years to arrive on the battlefield, although Kirby said some supplies, especially ammunition, are likely to be available almost immediately.
Biden said, “I know this Independence Day is bitter for many Ukrainians as thousands have been killed or injured, millions displaced from their homes and many others have been subjected to Russian atrocities and attacks”. He further added, “Today and every day, we stand with the Ukrainian people to declare that the darkness that drives autocracy is no match for the flame of freedom that lights the souls of free people everywhere”.
The new aid package is greater than other packages of $550 million, $1 billion, and $775 million earlier this month. Fighting continues in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine. After claiming control of the Luhansk region last month, Russia is still fighting for control of the Donetsk region.
UK Defense Ministry said in an intelligence update on August 20 that Russian troops had made only small progress in the Donbas since the beginning of the month and that neither Russian nor Ukrainian forces had made progress along the Kherson frontline.
The White House says Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to annex four regions of Ukraine – Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk, and Luhansk. Kirby said a “fraudulent” referendum could be announced as early as this week.