The Biden Administration is planning to unveil a $3 billion military aid package for Ukraine this week, U.S. officials told the Associated Press on Tuesday, offering another round of assistance on both Ukraine’s Independence Day and the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion—amid renewed warnings Russia could plan to strike Kyiv.
The aid package’s exact contents and dollar amount are unclear, but it’s designed to help the eastern European country build up its defense and serve as a signal for long-term American support, unnamed officials told the AP.
The package is reportedly set to be announced Wednesday, as Ukraine celebrates the 31st anniversary of its declaration of independence from the Soviet Union.
U.S. officials have warned Russia could mark Ukraine’s Independence Day by conducting aerial attacks on civilian areas and government buildings in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv, with the State Department urging American citizens to leave Ukraine in a security alert.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday his forces will have a “strong response” to a Russian attack, the New York Times reported.
$10.6 billion. That’s how much the Biden Administration has committed over the course of 19 military aid packages since the war began, not including the package expected to be announced this week. Since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, the U.S. has provided $12.6 billion in security assistance to the Ukrainian government, according to the Department of Defense.
Since Russia’s invasion began in February, the United States has provided more advanced equipment to Ukraine, moving from anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to advanced rocket systems and howitzers. The latest spending package last week included $775 million for high-mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), mine-resistant vehicles and surveillance drones. Earlier this month, the Biden Administration pledged $1 billion in military spending, marking one of its largest packages, a move that came a week after the administration sent another $550 million and two weeks after a $270 million package. Meanwhile last week, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) sent $4.5 billion in economic aid to the hamstrung Ukrainian government. In May, President Joe Biden signed into law a $40 billion spending bill that included military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, amounting to roughly 5% of the entire U.S. national security budget, and exceeding the $33 billion Biden asked Congress to approve in April.
“As President Biden has made clear, we will support Ukraine as they defend their democracy for as long as it takes,” the Department of Defense said in a statement last week.
In recent months, fighting has centered largely on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, after Russia abandoned a broader effort to take Kyiv and other major cities. Fighting has also come dangerously close to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant—the largest in Europe—prompting the United Nations to warn that a nuclear catastrophe is possible. Russian and Ukrainian officials have blamed each other for the attacks, with the Kremlin accusing Ukraine of “nuclear blackmail” by escalating tensions around the nuclear reactors, which are controlled by Russian forces and remain in operation.
US to send $3 billion in aid to Ukraine as war hits 6 months (Associated Press)