On the 31st anniversary of Ukraine's independence, the United States is reinforcing its long-term commitment to the nation with $2.98 billion to train and equip the Ukrainian armed forces for their struggle against the Russian invasion.
President Joe Biden announced the aid at the White House. He said the people of the world have been awed and inspired by Ukrainian resistance and pledged the United States will stand with the people of Ukraine as they fight to defend their sovereignty.
The aid "will allow Ukraine to acquire air defense systems, artillery systems and munitions, counter-unmanned aerial systems, and radars to ensure it can continue to defend itself over the long term," the president said.
It is the largest single U.S. aid package to Ukraine since the Russians invaded the nation six months ago.
The aid "underscores the U.S. commitment to supporting Ukraine over the long term, representing multi-year investments in critical capabilities to build the enduring strength of Ukraine's armed forces as it continues to defend Ukraine's sovereignty in the face of Russian aggression," Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a written statement.
This aid is tangible proof of America's belief in the Ukrainian people. Unlike the presidential drawdown authority that allows the almost immediate delivery to Ukraine of existing stocks of weapons, these funds are part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
This process allows the United States to procure capabilities from industry. "This announcement represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional priority capabilities to Ukraine in the mid- and long-term," Ryder said.
These capabilities include six additional National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems and munitions. It also includes up to 245,000 rounds of 155 mm artillery ammunition and up to 65,000 rounds of 120 mm mortar ammunition.
The process will also supply up to 24 counter-artillery radars, Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems and support equipment for Scan Eagle unmanned aerial systems.
Russia is using unmanned aerial systems, too, and the aid package will provide VAMPIRE Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems to the Ukrainians.
The aid will also provide laser-guided rocket systems.
The money will also be used for training, maintenance and sustainment.
Since January 2021, the United States has committed more than $13.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.
The equipment the United States provides has changed as the Russian invasion has continued. Originally, the U.S. provided anti-armor and antiaircraft munitions, including the Javelin and Stinger systems. After the Ukrainian military drove the Russians back from the Ukraine's capital of Kyiv, the nature of the war changed. Russia then attacked the eastern part of Ukraine. The nature of the combat changed, and the fighting required more artillery pieces and crew-served capabilities.