US President Joe Biden announced $700 million in additional security assistance to Ukraine on Wednesday as the war drags on in the eastern part of that country.
“Today, I am announcing a significant new security assistance package to provide timely and critical aid to the Ukrainian military,” Biden said in a statement.
“Thanks to the additional funding for Ukraine, passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress, the United States will be able to keep providing Ukraine with more of the weapons that they are using so effectively to repel Russian attacks,” said the president.
“This new package will arm them with new capabilities and advanced weaponry, including (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) HIMARS with battlefield munitions, to defend their territory from Russian advances,” he said.
Biden said the US did not seek a wider war with Russia, and it was not “encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders. We do not want to prolong the war just to inflict pain on Russia.”
The range of the systems provided by the United States will be about 80km (50 miles), almost double the range of the US-provided M777 howitzers, which entered the Ukrainian battlefield in May. It was not clear on Wednesday how many of the systems the US will send to Ukraine.
With the eleventh drawdown of arms and equipment from Department of Defense inventories, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said total assistance has reached $4.6 billion since Russia began the war on Feb. 24.
“This support is part of more than $40 billion in new funding to support the U.S. response to the crisis in Ukraine,” said the top diplomat.
According to Pentagon, capabilities in the latest package include High Mobility Artillery Rocket systems and ammunition, five counter-artillery radars, two air surveillance radars, 1,000 Javelins and 50 command launch units, 6,000 anti-armour weapons, 15,000 155mm artillery rounds, four Mi-17 helicopters, 15 tactical vehicles, spare parts and equipment.
The US has committed approximately $5.3 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration. Since 2014, Washington has committed more than $7.3 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.