U.S. announces $625 million in new military aid for Ukraine
The Biden administration announced a new $625 million security assistance package for Ukraine on Tuesday that will include key weapons, ammunition and equipment.
Why it matters: This is the U.S.' first military aid package to Ukraine since Russia took the escalatory step of annexing four regions of the country. The package includes advanced mobile rocket launcher systems that have been crucial to Ukrainian forces.
State of play: The Pentagon said the package contains four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), as well as howitzers, artillery and mortar rounds, and small arms ammunition.
- This is the first time the U.S. has sent more HIMARS to Ukraine since July, bringing the total to 20, per AP. The weapons have allowed Ukrainian forces to strike bridges used to supply Russian troops, AP said.
- The U.S. has now sent Ukraine more than $16.8 billion in aid since the start of the Russian invasion, the Pentagon said.
What they're saying: "As we are demonstrating again today, the United States will continue to provide Ukraine with key capabilities to meet their evolving battlefield requirements," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing Tuesday.
- "Together with our allies and partners, the United States has been delivering an unprecedented amount of weapons and equipment that Ukraine's forces are ... utilizing very efficiently, including to retake their territory that has been seized illegally by Russia," she added.
- "The capabilities we are delivering are carefully calibrated to make the most difference on the battlefield and strengthen Ukraine’s hand at the negotiating table when the time is right," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Tuesday.
- President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by phone on Tuesday, promising "to continue supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from Russian aggression for as long as it takes," according to a White House readout of the call.