President Biden announced on Wednesday a massive $800 million military aid package for Ukraine that includes armed drones, anti-tank, and anti-aircraft missiles as the US continues to fuel the fighting between Russia and Ukraine.
The White House released a fact sheet detailing the contents of the aid package:
- 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems;
- 2,000 Javelin, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons, and 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems;
- 100 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems;
- 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, and 400 shotguns;
- Over 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds;
- 25,000 sets of body armor; and
- 25,000 helmets.
The “Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems” that the US is sending are small drones that crash into their targets, known as Switchblade drones. The Switchblades were first used by US special operations forces in Afghanistan and can hit targets dozens of miles away.
Announcing the weapons package, President Biden said the US would “do more in the days and weeks ahead.” Biden’s announcement came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a virtual address to Congress where he pleaded for the US to send Ukraine more weapons, including S-300 surface-to-air missiles.
Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) told Politico that the US is “working with its allies” to send the S-300s to Ukraine. Slovakia’s Defense Ministry said Slovak military officials are expected to discuss the potential transfer of S-300s to Ukraine.
Biden’s announcement brings the total military aid authorized for Ukraine over the past week to $1 billion. The funding for the new weapons package will come out of the $13.6 billion for Ukraine that was added to the $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill Biden recently signed. Out of the $13.6 billion, the Pentagon will get $6.5 billion to replenish weapons stocks sent to Ukraine and to pay for troop deployments to Eastern Europe.