Biden approves $800 million in Ukraine military assistance

The Biden administration has authorized an additional $800 million in weapons and security assistance to Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion, Fox News reports.

President Joe Biden notified Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of the aid on Wednesday morning.

“The Ukrainian military has used the weapons we are providing to devastating effect,” President Biden said in a statement.

“As Russia prepares to intensify its attack in the Donbas region, the United States will continue to provide Ukraine with the capabilities to defend itself.”

In the president’s statement, he said the “package of assistance will contain many of the highly effective weapons systems we have already provided and new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine.”

The new weapons involve artillery systems and rounds, as well as armored personnel carriers.

In addition, the United States has approved transferring additional helicopters to Ukraine.

Biden also sent a memo on Wednesday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken authorizing a “drawdown” of $800 million worth of “defense articles and services of the Department of Defense and military education and training, to provide assistance to Ukraine and to make the determinations required under such section to direct such a drawdown.”

“The steady supply of weapons the United States and its allies and partners have provided to Ukraine has been critical in sustaining its fight against the Russian invasion,” Biden said in his statement.

“It has helped ensure that Putin failed in his initial war aims to conquer and control Ukraine.

“As I assured President Zelenskyy, the American people will continue to stand with the brave Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom.”

The move comes as Russia recalibrates its war aims.

Moscow no longer sees taking Kyiv or large swaths of western Ukraine as a viable option, given the heavy losses they suffered while accomplishing no tactical objectives.

Instead, Russian troops are massing on Ukraine’s eastern border for a likely push into the Donbas region, where Russian-backed separatists have already exercised significant control since the 2014 Kremlin offensive which annexed Crimea.

The new aid comes on top of $1 billion the United States has already provided Ukraine to repel the Russian invasion.

“Last month, the Biden administration sent a security package with 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems; 2,000 Javelins, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons and 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems; 100 unmanned drones; 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, and 400 shotguns; more than 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds; 25,000 sets of body armor; and 25,000 helmets. The equipment was transferred directly from the Department of Defense to the Ukrainian military,” Fox News reported.

Defense officials emphasized that “everything we’re doing in respect to Ukraine is being expedited — everything.”