A new $725 million security assistance package for Ukraine from the United States is expected to include munitions and military vehicles but not significant new capabilities or counter-air defenses, two U.S. officials briefed on the aid told Reuters on Friday.
The package is the first since Russia's barrage of missiles fired on civilian population centers in Ukraine this week. It would bring the total of U.S. security assistance since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 to more than $17.5 billion.
U.S. President Joe Biden issued a statement delegating the Secretary of State "to direct the drawdown of up to $725 million in defense articles and services of the Department of Defense, and military education and training" to aid Ukraine.
One of the officials said that while the aid package was not expected to include material to defeat missile attacks, it was designed to bolster Ukraine's ability to beat back Russia in the counter offensive that has yielded large territorial gains in recent weeks.
Separately, Ukraine expects the United States and Germany to deliver sophisticated anti-aircraft systems this month to help it counter attacks by Russian missiles and kamikaze drones, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Friday.
Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) allows them to be shipped to Ukraine in the coming days. It allows the United States to transfer defense articles and services from stocks quickly without congressional approval in response to an emergency.
This is the second PDA package of the U.S. government's 2023 fiscal year which is functioning under a stop-gap funding measure and allows Biden to tap up to $3.7 billion in surplus weapons for transfer to Ukraine through mid-December.
In general, to finance weapons for Ukraine, including the sophisticated anti-aircraft NASAMS systems expected this month, Washington uses funds from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) to procure weapons from industry, rather than pulling them from existing U.S. weapons stocks.
NASAMS are made by Raytheon Technologies Corp and Norway's Kongsberg.
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