Lloyd Austin Reveals New $2.3 Billion in Ukraine Aid

(NewsReady.com) – Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has promised Ukraine a big new military aid package. The shipment will focus on air defense and anti-tank weapons. Ukraine is under increasing pressure from Russian air and missile attacks, and is desperate for NATO to provide more active support.

On July 2, Ukrainian defense minister Rustem Umerov visited the Pentagon. During the visit, Secretary Austin announced that the US will soon deliver a new package of military aid worth $2.3 billion, which is expected to include anti-tank weapons, “critical munitions” (most likely 155mm artillery shells, which Ukraine is running short of), and air defense missiles that can intercept Russia’s cruise missiles and attack aircraft.

According to Lloyd, the aid will be delivered using the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which allows Biden to pull munitions from US military stocks and donate them as military aid. Confusingly, however, the secretary also mentioned funding to buy more missiles for Ukraine’s Patriot and NASAMS air defense systems. He said the missiles will be delivered quickly by “resequencing” foreign military sales, which implies that those missiles won’t come from US stocks. That means they’d most likely be paid for by Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funding.

Ukraine has put up a strong defense since Russia invaded in February 2022, but the enemy’s weight of numbers is starting to hurt. Ukrainian cities are under regular bombardment from Russian missiles, and the country doesn’t have enough air defense systems to cover everything that needs protecting. Now, Ukrainian officials are trying to persuade NATO to move its own air defense systems close to the Ukrainian border, arguing that this would both protect NATO members from rogue Russian missiles—several have already landed in Poland and Romania—while also creating a safe zone in parts of Ukraine. However, creating that safe zone would mean NATO nations engaging Russian aircraft over Ukraine from their own soil; that’s a step further than anyone is willing to go.

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