U.S. Unveils $425 Mil. in Arms for Kyiv, Including Anti-Drone Rockets

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Pool
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends a press conference, during his visit to Israel, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel November 3, 2023.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will provide $425 million worth of additional arms and equipment to Ukraine for its ongoing fight against Russia’s invasion, the Biden administration announced on Friday.

The package uses the last of the funds in the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), a more than $18 billion fund that allowed the Biden administration to buy weapons from industry, rather than pull from U.S. weapons stocks.

The USAI funds will be put toward $300 million worth of laser-guided munitions to shoot down Russian drones, which will include some for the Vehicle Agnostic Modular Palletized ISR Rocket Equipment (VAMPIRE) kit made by L3Harris Technologies LHX.N, a U.S. official and a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The administration also announced $125 million worth of weapons pledges made possible by utilizing the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which authorizes President Joe Biden to transfer excess articles and services from U.S. stocks without congressional approval during an emergency.

The Pentagon said the weapons that will ship to Kyiv under the drawdown authority include additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) air defenses, munitions for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 105 and 155 millimeter artillery, TOW anti-tank weapons, Claymore anti-personnel mines, small arms and a dozen trucks.

Biden, a Democrat, is calling on U.S. lawmakers to approve more aid for Kyiv. The Republican-led House of Representatives this week only approved aid for Israel for its fight against Hamas, while additional aid for Ukraine continues to have bipartisan support in the Democratic-controlled Senate

The Biden administration still has about $5 billion of congressionally granted presidential drawdown authority, after the Pentagon found in June it had overestimated the value of arms shipped to Ukraine due to a $6.2 billion accounting error.

Since the Russian invasion in February 2022 the U.S. has sent about $44 billion worth of security assistance to Ukraine.