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Defense Secretary Austin Says the US Will Provide $2.3 Billion More in Military Aid to Ukraine
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By Associated Press
Published 2 weeks ago on
July 2, 2024

As Ukraine continues to face Russian aggression, the U.S. pledges an additional $2.3 billion in security assistance, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announces. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

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WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Tuesday that the U.S. will soon announce an additional $2.3 billion in security assistance for Ukraine, to include anti-tank weapons, interceptors and munitions for Patriot and other air defense systems.

Austin’s remarks came as Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov met with him at the Pentagon. And they mark a strong response to pleas from Kyiv for help in battling Russian forces in the Donetsk region.

Of that total, $150 million of the aid will come from presidential drawdown authority (PDA) and the remainder will be provided by Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). PDA allows the Pentagon to take the weapons from its stocks and send them more quickly to Ukraine; USAI puts weapons on longer-term contracts.

“Make no mistake, Ukraine is not alone, and the United States will never waver in our support,” Austin said as he opened the meeting with Umerov. “Alongside some 50 allies and partners, we’ll continue to provide critical capabilities that Ukraine needs to push back Russian aggression today and to deter Russian aggression tomorrow.”

Building a Bridge to NATO Membership

The announcement comes just days before the U.S. hosts the NATO summit in Washington and as Ukraine has continued to lobby for military support and acceptance into the alliance.

“We’ll take steps to build a bridge to NATO membership for Ukraine,” Austin told Umerov.

“Hopefully soon Ukraine will receive its invitation,” the Ukrainian minister responded.

Ukraine’s Immediate Security Needs

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday that Russia had dropped more than 800 powerful glide bombs in Ukraine in the last week alone. And he urged national leaders to relax restrictions on the use of Western weapons to strike military targets inside Russia. In particular, he said, Ukraine needs the “necessary means to destroy the carriers of these bombs, including Russian combat aircraft, wherever they are.”

Austin did not refer to the restrictions in his opening comments, but he told Umerov that they would discuss “more ways to meet Ukraine’s immediate security needs and to build a future force to ward off more Russian aggression.”

Including the latest $2.3 billion, the U.S. has committed more than $53.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022.

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