The Biden administration has just announced yet another new weapons package for Ukraine worth $600 million, which now brings to total US military aid pledged since the start of the conflict to $15.1 billion.
Crucially, in this case the arms are being sent under the presidential drawdown authority, which allows the White House to take arms directly from US military stockpiles for use by foreign allied forces. The administration confirmed it was the 21st time it drew from Pentagon stockpiles.
The Guardian details, “Joe Biden authorized the latest assistance using his Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the president to authorize the transfer of excess weapons from US stocks.” The report stresses, “The White House said it was the 21st time that the US’s defense department has pulled weapons and other equipment off the shelves to deliver to Ukraine.”
Amid its eastern and southern counteroffensive, which has seen some degree of success in rolling back Russian frontlines especially in Kharkiv Oblast, the Ukrainian government and armed forces this week submitted a weapons ‘wish list’ to Washington.
President Zelensky is now going straight to Congress and the US arms makers themselves, which is somewhat unprecedented:
That list, which Politico published yesterday, includes several long-range weapons that President Joe Biden has so far considered to be a red line, citing the risks of escalation to a wider war if Ukraine is able to strike deep inside Russian territory.
The congressional effort highlights Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s “somewhat unprecedented” approach to getting weapons from Washington, according to Bill Hartung of the Quincy Institute. While it’s become commonplace for U.S. allies to hire lobbyists to push their interests in Congress, other countries have balked at the idea of pressuring a president by openly lobbying lawmakers.
- Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS)
- 36,000 105mm artillery rounds
- 1,000 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds
- Four counter-artillery radars
- Four trucks and eight trailers to transport heavy equipment
- Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems
- Mine clearing equipment
- Claymore anti-personnel munitions
- Demolition munitions and equipment
- Small arms and ammunition
- Night vision devices, cold weather gear, and other field equipment
Throughout the opening seven months of the Ukraine war, the US has approved new arms sales and transfers to Ukraine at a rate of about two to three times a month, as we documented in August.