WASHINGTON: The US Defense Department announced Friday it is allotting $300 million in “security assistance” for Ukraine to bolster the country’s defense capabilities, adding to the $1.6 billion Washington has committed since Russia invaded in late February.
The package includes laser-guided rocket systems, drones, ammunition, night-vision devices, tactical secure communications systems, medical supplies and spare parts.
“This decision underscores the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in support of its heroic efforts to repel Russia’s war of choice,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed “additional capabilities” to help the Ukrainian military, the White House said in a statement after the call.
In mid-March, Congress passed a funding bill that included $13.6 billion for humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine and NATO allies in eastern Europe.
Shortly after, Biden announced $1 billion in new security assistance to Ukraine. A large portion of the military equipment the United States has given to Ukraine has come from its own stockpile, through a process known as a “presidential drawdown.”
Unlike that process, the $300 million announced Friday will go towards new contracts for military equipment from the Pentagon’s defense industry partners.
One of the technologies included in the announcement are more Switchblade tactical drones. Dubbed “kamikaze drones,” Switchblades can be directed by an operator to find and, when ready, plunge onto a target, exploding on contact.