President Joe Biden and his top national security leaders announced Wednesday that the U.S. is moving as fast as possible to get critical weapons to the fight, even as Ukrainian officials protest that they need more and they need it faster in order to survive.
The U.S. announced it will send an additional $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine, as America and its allies provide longer-range weapons they say can make a difference in a fight where Ukrainian forces are outnumbered and outgunned by their Russian invaders. The latest package includes anti-ship missile launchers, howitzers, and more rounds for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) that U.S. forces are training Ukrainian troops on now. All are key weapons systems that Ukrainian leaders have urgently requested as they battle to stall Russia’s slow but steady march to conquer the eastern Donbas region.
“Gen. Milley and I have been in a number of fights. And when you’re in a fight, you can never get enough,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at a press conference in Brussels, referring to Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The HIMARS and anti-ship systems are the kinds of longer-range capabilities that over time can make a difference in the fight, Milley said. He said Ukraine will have trained HIMARS crews in the fight in a few weeks.
As authorized by @POTUS, I am directing the drawdown of $350 million in additional U.S. arms, equipment & supplies for Ukraine—part of $1 billion in U.S. support announced today to reinforce Ukraine’s defenses against Russia’s senseless war of choice. We stand #UnitedwithUkraine.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) June 15, 2022
The aid is the largest single distribution of weapons and equipment since the war began in late February. President Biden spoke by phone with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for about 40 minutes Wednesday and also said the U.S. will send an additional $225 million in humanitarian assistance to provide safe drinking water, medical supplies, food, health care, shelter, and money for families to buy essential items.
The bravery, resilience, and determination of the Ukrainian people continues to inspire the world. Today, @POTUS announced $1 billion in additional military assistance for Ukraine – when we say the United States stands with Ukraine, we mean it. https://t.co/7dTieHSD7a
— Ambassador Bridget A. Brink (@USAmbKyiv) June 15, 2022
President Biden said in a statement that the United States “remains committed to supporting the Ukrainian people whose lives have been ripped apart by this war.”