US defense secretary announces new military aid package for Ukraine

Brussels, Belgium - Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Wednesday that the US will provide a new $200 million military assistance package for Ukraine, as opposition from hardline Republican lawmakers puts future aid for Kyiv in doubt.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met in Brussels, where the US announced a new military aid package.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met in Brussels, where the US announced a new military aid package.  © via REUTERS

"I'm proud that the United States will announce its latest security assistance package for Ukraine, valued at $200 million," Austin said alongside President Volodymyr Zelensky at the opening of a meeting of Kyiv's international supporters in Brussels.

The package includes air defense munitions, artillery and rocket ammunition and anti-tank weapons, among other items, Austin said.

It is the first package announced since Congress dropped new funding for Kyiv earlier this month from a bill to avert a US government shutdown – a move that called into doubt Washington's continued commitment to aiding Ukraine's fight against invading Russian forces.

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Austin nonetheless insisted Wednesday that the US "will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes."

Even in the absence of further action by Congress, the US government still has authority to withdraw more than $5 billion in equipment for Ukraine from American military stocks.

However, there is only $1.6 billion in remaining funding to replace donated gear, and it is unclear if Washington will provide assistance to Ukraine that creates gaps it cannot immediately fill.

Washington has committed more than $43 billion in military assistance to Kyiv since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022 – more than half of all international security assistance for Ukraine.

Cover photo: via REUTERS

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