The United States has authorized a new $275 million aid package for Ukraine to address “critical security and defense needs,” according to the Department of Defense (DOD).
This is the Biden administration’s 27th presidential drawdown of equipment from DOD stocks for Ukraine since August 2021 and comes a little more than two weeks since the White House announced another $400 million drawdown.
Since October, the White House has approved over $2.7 billion in presidential drawdowns for security assistance to Ukraine.
“As Russia continues to wage its brutal war against people of Ukraine, today the Biden-Harris administration is announcing a new $275 million security assistance package to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Friday.
“This package will provide Ukraine with new capabilities … to boost its air defenses and counter the threats Ukraine is facing from Iranian UAVs, which Russia is using to attack Ukraine’s critical … infrastructure and kill Ukrainian civilians.”
Over $22.1 billion in security aid has been provided to Ukraine by the United States since 2014, of which over $19.3 billion has been spent since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war on February 24, according to the DOD release.
The latest security aid package will give Ukraine new capabilities to strengthen its air defenses, as well as crucial equipment to defend itself on the battlefield.
The package includes additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 80,000 155mm artillery rounds, counter-unmanned aerial systems equipment, counter-air defense capability, ambulances and medical equipment, around 150 generators, and field equipment.
“To meet Ukraine’s evolving battlefield requirements, the United States will continue to work with its Allies and partners to provide Ukraine with key capabilities,” the DOD said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed gratitude to President Joe Biden for the security aid package.
“Thankful to [POTUS] for another security aid package. And for unwavering leading support in our fight against Russian aggression. No missile terror will stop our fight for freedom! It is important that the people of [America] are side by side with the people of [Ukraine] in this struggle,” Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter.
Thankful to @POTUS for another security aid package. And for unwavering leading support 🇺🇦 in our fight against Russian aggression. No missile terror will stop our fight for freedom! It is important that the people of 🇺🇸 are side by side with the people of 🇺🇦 in this struggle.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) December 9, 2022
Republicans Critical of Democrat Spending in Ukraine
As Biden administration aid to Ukraine has reached over $50 billion since Biden took office, some Republicans have criticized the Biden administration for not cutting Democrats’ big spending in Ukraine.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is seeking to become Speaker, cautioned in November that his party would not issue a “blank check” to Ukraine if the Republicans win the House.
“I think Ukraine is very important. I support making sure that we move forward to defeat Russia in that program. But there should be no blank check on anything. We are $31 trillion in debt,” McCarthy said during an interview.
“Wouldn’t you want a check and balance in Congress? Wouldn’t you want this hardworking taxpayers’ money, someone overseeing it? We’ve got to eliminate the wasteful spending in Washington,” he added.
His comments came days after the White House announced a $725 million aid package in October—the 23rd drawdown of DOD equipment.
A Ukrainian soldier of an artillery unit fires towards Russian positions outside Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, on Nov. 8, 2022. (Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images)
$2.7 Billion Since October
Since October, the DOD has announced over $2.7 billion in new authorizations of a presidential drawdown of military equipment to support Ukraine on average every 13 days—$625 million on Oct. 4, $725 million on Oct. 14, $275 million on Oct. 28, $400 million on Nov. 10, $400 million on Nov. 23, and $275 million on Dec. 9.
The second $400 million package announced in November, according to White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan, included “important air defense contributions” such as missiles for the HAWK air defense system. Four mobile Avenger surface-to-air missile systems with Stinger missiles were included—an air defense system the United States has never before given to the Ukrainians.
“This increased air defense will be critical for Ukraine as Russia continues to use cruise missiles and Iranian-made drones to attack critical civilian infrastructure,” Sullivan said on Nov. 11.
The United States has dug into its own stockpiles by supplying 400 grenade launchers, 100 Humvees, 10,000 mortar rounds, thousands of artillery rounds for howitzers, cold weather gear, and 20 million rounds of ammunition for smaller, individual guns and rifles to Ukraine.
Lorenz Duchamps contributed to this report.