Lloyd Austin Unveils New $2.3BN Aid While Hosting Ukraine's Defense Chief

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jul 02, 2024 - 08:40 PM

We wrote in early June that the White House is planning to announce new Ukraine arms and funding packages about every two or three weeks, drawing from Biden's $60 billion in recently approved total funding. In mid-May there was a package unveiled at $275 million, followed in the first week of June with another $225 million package.

It is not only consistency of these rollouts that is set to increase, but apparently the size of each, given that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday said that the US will soon announce a whopping more than $2.3 billion in new military aid for Ukraine.

"This package under presidential drawdown authority will provide new air defense interceptors, anti-tank weapons, and other critical munitions from US inventories," Austin explained in a meeting with Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov as they met at the Pentagon.

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"It will also enable the United States to procure more Patriot and NASAMs air defense interceptors, which will be provided on an accelerated timeline by the resequencing of deliveries for some foreign military sales," he added.

A chunk of this is also expected to utilize the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which authorizes the US government to purchase from the US defense sector.

Tuesday's announcement appears in response to Ukraine officials renewing their calls for NATO and Western partners to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, given that unrelenting Russian airstrikes continue to decimate the electricity grid, resulting in nationwide blackouts.

Ukrainian parliament member Oleksiy Goncharenko told AFP at the start of this week, "I don’t understand why NATO doesn’t deploy Patriot systems along the Polish border."

"After all, Russian missiles have already entered Polish and Romanian airspace. This would protect the borders of Poland and Romania, and this would create a safe zone in the west and south of Ukraine," he added.

But Washington has already taken significant steps toward prioritizing getting Kiev the anti-air defenses it needs, having days ago confirmed that all Patriot missile supplies which were destined for other countries will now be re-routed for Ukraine. The Biden administration says that US partners have shown patience and understanding after this move.

The US has also lately signed a decade-long commitment to train Ukraine's armed forces as well as engage in intelligence-sharing. The Biden administration further declared it will work on building a "bridge" toward Ukraine's eventual entry into NATO.

NATO's escalation has come piecemeal, even as there has been little serious effort toward getting the two warring sides to the negotiating table. Only in the last several weeks have there been murmurings out of Kiev that it's time for some kind of negotiations, given how poorly Ukraine forces are fairing on the front lines. But the most dangerous recent escalation has been the US giving a greenlight for US weapons to be used in cross-border attacks inside Russian territory.