US Announces New Weapons Aid for Ukraine as Congress Is Stalled on More Funding

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC)’s Tribute Celebration, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, in Washington.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is sending a $175 million package of military aid to Ukraine, including guided missiles for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), anti-armor systems and high-speed anti-radiation missiles, the Pentagon and State Department announced on Wednesday.

The latest aid comes as Congress remains stalled on legislation that would provide new funding for Ukraine as it battles to push back Russian forces, as well as money for Israel’s war with Hamas and other security needs. The Biden administration has said funding to aid Ukraine is running out, and the Pentagon packages of weapons and other equipment for the war have become much smaller in recent months.

In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that unless Congress approves the supplemental funding, “this will be one of the last security assistance packages we can provide to Ukraine.”

The White House is seeking nearly $106 billion, but the bill has gotten bogged down in negotiations over border security and because of increasing reluctance from Republican lawmakers to approve significant spending on the Ukraine war. GOP lawmakers are insisting on policy changes to halt the flow of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border as a condition for the assistance.

As part of the push to break the deadlock, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was scheduled to address U.S. senators by video Tuesday, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he had to cancel his appearance.

The latest weapons package will be provided through presidential drawdown authority, or PDA, which pulls weapons from existing U.S. stockpiles and sends them quickly to the war front.

Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said Tuesday there is about $1.1 billion left in funding to replenish U.S. military stockpiles for weapons and equipment sent to Ukraine. And he said there is roughly $4.8 billion in drawdown authority still available.

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Rustem Umerov is scheduled to meet with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon on Wednesday afternoon.

Although the war has been static along most of its more than 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) front line as wintry weather has set in, both sides have continued to launch airstrikes. Ukraine is working to keep up the pressure over the winter, in order to prevent Russia from solidifying battle lines.

The new aid will also include AIM-9M and AIM-7 missiles for air defense; artillery rounds, vehicles to tow equipment, demolition munitions and other missiles and more than 4 million rounds of ammunition.

To date, the United States has committed more than $44 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.