U.S. commits $2B weapons package to Ukraine on anniversary of Russian invasion

By Tony Bertuca / February 24, 2023 at 5:00 AM

The Defense Department announced a $2 billion security assistance package to Ukraine today on the one-year anniversary of the ongoing Russian invasion, including additional unmanned drones, counter-drone systems, precision ammunition and electronic warfare detection equipment.

The package will be provided by working directly with defense contractors under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, rather than immediately transfer weapons from U.S. stocks.

The new package includes:

  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems;
  • Additional 155mm artillery rounds;
  • Munitions for laser-guided rocket systems;
  • CyberLux K8 unmanned aerial systems;
  • Switchblade 600 UAS;
  • Altius-600 UAS;
  • Jump 20 UAS;
  • Counter-UAS and electronic warfare detection equipment;
  • Mine clearing equipment;
  • Secure communications support equipment;
  • Funding for training, maintenance and sustainment.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin released a statement marking the one-year anniversary of the conflict and highlighting the more than $32 billion in security assistance the United States has committed in the past year.

“The United States has rallied the world to support Ukraine and hold Russia accountable,” he said.

Austin said the United States has specifically provided more than 1,600 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, over 8,500 Javelin anti-tank systems, 232 howitzers, 38 HIMARS and more than two million rounds of artillery ammunition.

Additionally, he noted, the United States has pledged to provide one Patriot air-defense battery, eight National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, 109 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, 31 Abrams tanks and 90 Stryker Armored Personnel Carriers.

Many of the systems funded through the USAI, however, will not reach Ukraine for many months, possibly a year or two. Austin also did not address Ukraine’s request for combat aircraft though DOD officials have said conversations continue.

The defense secretary noted the work of the 50-nation Ukraine Contact Group, through which U.S. allies have committed more than $20 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including hundreds of tanks, thousands of other armored vehicles, hundreds of artillery systems and air defense capabilities.

Austin has said the weapons that have been flowing into Ukraine via rapid transfers from U.S. stocks are to be in place for a “spring offensive” intended to dislodge Russian forces from their positions in the eastern part of the country.