WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden’s administration authorized $100 million of additional military aid to Ukraine on Thursday, the latest in a series of transfers to help Kyiv repel Russia’s invasion, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
The new transfers will be the tenth time that Biden has used his Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) to help Ukraine and would account for the $100 million remaining in that funding, which allows the president to authorize the transfer of excess weapons from U.S. stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency.
In a statement, Blinken said the $100 million drawdown brings total U.S. military assistance to Ukraine to about $3.9 billion in arms and equipment since Russia launched its invasion of its neighbor on Feb. 24.
The war, which the Kremlin describes as a “special military operation,” has killed thousands of civilians, forced millions of Ukrainians from their homes and reduced cities to rubble. Russia has little to show for it beyond a strip of territory in southern Ukraine and marginal gains in the eastern part of the country.
“Ukraine’s courageous defense forces remain firmly in the fight,” Blinken said in a statement. “The United States, as well as more than 40 Allies and partner countries, are working around the clock to expedite shipments of arms and equipment essential to Ukraine’s defense.”
The new defense package includes 18 additional 155 mm howitzers, 18 more tactical vehicles and three additional counter-artillery radars, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a briefing for reporters.
The United States had already sent 184,000 artillery rounds to Ukraine for use in howitzers. The additional munitions included in Thursday’s package – first reported by Reuters – would supply Kyiv’s forces in eastern Ukraine.
Underscoring Washington’s support for Ukraine’s government, the U.S. Senate separately on Thursday approved an emergency funding bill for the country that included nearly $40 billion in aid and authorized an additional $11 billion worth of PDA, sending the measure to the White House for Biden to sign into law.
(Reporting by Mike Stone and Patricia Zengerle, additional reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Paul Simao)