The Biden administration announced a new $250 million military aid package for Ukraine on August 30, 2022. This package includes air defense missiles, rockets, artillery ammunition, and other equipment to support Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s ongoing invasion, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
In Blinken’s statement, he noted that “Every day, Russia continues its brutal war of aggression that has killed many Ukrainian civilians and displaced millions. Their attacks on Ukraine’s ports and grain infrastructure have caused food price volatility and worsening global food insecurity.” He added that “Russia started this war and could end it at any time by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine and stopping its brutal attacks.”
Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in February 2022, the U.S. has provided over $43 billion in military aid to Ukraine. This aid comes through two methods – presidential drawdown authority, which supplies weapons from existing U.S. stockpiles, and the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, where the Defense Department contracts companies to build new weapons for Ukraine. Drawdown aid arrives within weeks, while USAI packages take longer.
Tuesday’s package will be funded through excess funds uncovered in the Defense Department’s budget for Ukraine aid. The department had been calculating replacement costs for supplied equipment instead of actual costs, resulting in a $6.2 billion difference that can now be used to send additional weapons.
While the Biden administration has reiterated its long-term support for Ukraine, there is debate in Congress, particularly among Republicans, about continuing or reducing military aid. The issue of aid to Ukraine may also become a topic in the 2024 presidential election, depending on the candidates and their stated positions on Russia’s invasion and U.S. involvement.