Ukraine will be receiving even more military aid from the United States, thanks to a pledge the Pentagon made on Tuesday.
The $1.2 billion in additional military aid will include an air defense system that will help the forces in Ukraine defend against the Russian missile strikes that are happening on a constant basis. In addition, the Pentagon said the aid would include equipment that would help “integrate Western air defense launchers, missiles and radars with Ukraine’s air defense systems.”
During a briefing on Tuesday, Brigadier General Pat Ryder, the press secretary for the Pentagon, said:
“We’re going to continue to rush air-defense capabilities and munitions to help Ukraine control its sovereign skies and to help Ukraine defend its citizens from Russian cruise missiles and Iranian drones.”
Reporters asked Ryder directly at the briefing whether Ukraine was able to thwart the Kinzhal missile that Russia has launched using the Patriot system that the United States made and supplied to Ukraine.
He responded that the Pentagon “can confirm” that this indeed did happen, and Ukraine was able to shoot down “this Russian missile with a Patriot missile defense system.”
The additional military aid that will be sent to Ukraine comes from the USAI – or the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. It’s what America has used to purchase equipment and weapons from either partner nations or companies in the defense industry on Ukraine’s behalf.
One of the challenges for Ukraine, in this respect, is that this aid is seen to be on the longer-term basis. That’s because all of the purchases involves defense contracts. And when the items aren’t readily available, the companies or countries will need to build them.
This means that it could even be years before Ukraine ends up receiving the equipment that the U.S. is setting aside to spend for them – perhaps even after the war with Russia is long over.
When the U.S. wants to send Ukraine support on a more immediate basis, it has so far used the Presidential Drawdown Authority. This allows the country to pull from the existing stockpiles of military equipment the U.S. has and send it over to Ukraine.
As Ryder explained at the briefing this week:
“The United States will continue to work with our allies and our partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements.”
Ammunition that will be used by anti-drone weapons, imagery services for commercial satellites and rounds of artillery are all part of the new funds that will come from the USAI.
With this new package of $1.2 billion, America has committed a total of about $5 billion in USAI money to Ukraine in the 2023 fiscal year to date. Since Russia first invaded Ukraine back in February 2022, the total amount of security assistance the U.S. has provided to Ukraine has totaled almost $37 billion.