The U.S. will send $1.8 billion in military aid to Ukraine in a massive package that will for the first time include a Patriot missile battery and precision guided bombs for their fighter jets, U.S. officials said Tuesday, as the Biden administration prepares to welcome Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Washington.
U.S. officials described details of the aid on condition of anonymity because it has not yet been announced. The aid signals an expansion by the U.S. in the kinds of advanced weaponry it will send to Ukraine to bolster the country’s air defenses against what has been an increasing barrage of Russian missile strikes.
The package, which was expected to be announced Wednesday, will include about $1 billion in weapons from Pentagon stocks and another $800 million in funding through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which funds weapons, ammunition, training and other assistance, officials said.
Zelenskyy and other Ukraine officials have pressed Western leaders to provide more advanced weapons, including the Patriots, to help their country in its war with Russia. The Patriot would be the most advanced surface-to-air missile system the West has provided to Ukraine to help repel Russian aerial attacks. The timing of the military aid announcement — as Zelenskyy makes his first trip out of Ukraine since the war began — sends a strong message of continued U.S. support for Ukraine as the war drags on. [Continue reading…]