Biden Administration Announces $1.2B for Ukraine, Bringing Total Military Aid to $36.9B

The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a new military aid package of $1.2 billion for Ukraine, bringing the total since its war with Russia began to $36.9 billion.

“Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced a new security assistance package to reaffirm the steadfast U.S. support for Ukraine, including to bolster its air defenses and sustain its artillery ammunition needs,” the Pentagon said in an announcement.

The equipment will not come out of U.S. military stocks, as much of the assistance has so far, but rather, be purchased new from defense contractors from a fund known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI).

The Pentagon highlighted its purchase of 155mm artillery rounds — something the West has been struggling to supply Ukraine with given the pace of usage by Ukraine’s military in its war against Russia.

The Pentagon also highlighted it would purchase “additional air defense systems and munitions” for Ukraine. Recent allegedly leaked Pentagon documents warned that Ukraine’s air defense munitions were running low.

According to one document dated February 28, Ukraine would run out of missiles for the S-300 and Buk air defense systems used to defend against air attacks by May 3 and April 13 respectively. The purported shortages painted a dire picture for Ukraine’s front line troops, or “FLOT”:

[Ukraine’s] ability to provide medium range air defense to protect the FLOT will be completely reduced by May 23. [Ukraine] assessed to withstand 2-3 more wave strikes. As 1st Layer Defense munitions run out, 2nd and 3rd Layer expenditure rates will increase, reducing the ability to defend against Russian aerial attacks from all altitudes.

Ukraine has been attempting to mount a “spring” counteroffensive against Russian forces, but there are indications that the Ukrainian military is still not ready.

Czech President Petr Pavel, who recently met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, “Apparently, they still have a feeling that they do not have everything to start successfully an operation,” according to The Guardian.

“It will be extremely harmful to Ukraine if this counteroffensive fails, because they will not have another chance, at least not this year,” Pavel said, adding that Ukraine would face “terrible losses” during the counteroffensive and could not afford for it to fail.

“Because it’s extremely demanding in terms of putting together personnel equipment, ammunition logistics, fuel financing. It will simply be one chance this year, so it has to be successful,” he said.

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