Update on Ukraine

August 9, 2022
A photo of the Ukrainian flag backlit against a sunset in wooded hills

… I directed a $1 billion drawdown of arms and equipment from U.S. military stockpiles for Ukraine’s defense, the largest use of U.S. Presidential Drawdown Authority to date.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken announcing additional security assistance for Ukraine on Monday.

Why It Matters: As Russia's war in Ukraine continues into its sixth month, the Biden administration announces the "largest single drawdown of U.S. arms and equipment" for Ukraine, using the Presidential Drawdown Authority — which allows weapons to quickly reach Ukraine since they come directly from the Department of Defense's stock. This announcement comes as Ukraine is preparing for "a potentially decisive counteroffensive … against Russia" (Associated Press).

  • This package will provide Ukrainian forces with a variety of weapons, including rockets for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) previously delivered, tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, mortar systems, and over four dozen armored medical treatment vehicles, along with other weapons and medical supplies.
  • How is this being paid for? The Associated Press reports: "The new funding is being paid for through $40 billion in economic and security aid for Ukraine approved by Congress in May."
  • In a press briefing on Monday's announcement, Defense Dept. Undersecretary Colin Kahl said the administration's "overwhelming priority is getting the Ukrainians things that are relevant for the current fight" while also noting, "It's not inconceivable that down the road, Western aircraft could be part of the mix."

Big Picture: Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with roughly $9.1 billion in security assistance (including Monday's announcement of an additional $1 billion).

Brief overview of what's been happening in Ukraine: "For the last four months of the war, Russia has concentrated on capturing the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow separatists have controlled some territory as self-proclaimed republics for eight years. Russian forces have made gradual headway in the region while launching missile rocket attacks to curtail the movements of Ukrainian fighters elsewhere" (Associated Press). In Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, there are reports that Ukrainian resistance — including unofficial fighters who provide intelligence to the Ukrainian military — is growing.

$1 Billion in Additional Security Assistance for Ukraine (U.S. Department of Defense)

US pledges $1 billion more rockets, other arms for Ukraine (Associated Press)

Defense Department Briefing on Ukraine Security Assistance (C-SPAN)

Ukrainian resistance grows in Russian-occupied areas (Associated Press)

Quote: https://twitter.com/SecBlinken/status/1556703880515313677

by Jenna Lee,

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