The Biden administration’s next security aid package for Ukraine is expected to include four High Mobility Artillery Missile System (HIMARS) launchers, ammunition, mines and mine-resistant vehicles, two sources briefed on the $625 million said. Reuters on Monday.
The package, expected to be announced as early as Tuesday, is the first aid package since Russia’s latest announced annexation of Ukrainian territory and the second Presidential Removal Authority (PDA) since Ukraine made major battlefield gains in mid-September.
The annexations announced by Russia took place after so-called referendums in the occupied territories of Ukraine. Western governments and Kyiv said the vote violated international law, was forced and unrepresentative.
Using the withdrawal authority, four HIMARS launchers and associated missiles, approximately 200 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, ammunition for howitzers and mines could be sent to Ukraine in the coming days.
Presidential Drawdown Authority allows the United States to quickly move goods and services from the stockpile without congressional approval in response to an emergency.
It is the first package of the US government’s fiscal year 2023, which is currently operating under the deficit spending measure and allows President Joe Biden to take up to $3.7 billion.
Last week, the United States delivered a $1.1 billion arms package to Ukraine, which includes 18 High Mobility Artillery Missile System (HIMARS) launchers, accompanying munitions, various types of counter-drone systems and radar systems.
However, last week’s aid package was funded by the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which means the government must purchase weapons from industry rather than take them from existing US arms stockpiles.
The accuracy and longer range of the HIMARS launchers, made by Lockheed Martin Corp ( LMT.N ), have allowed Kiev to reduce Russia’s artillery advantage.
So far, the US has promised Ukraine 16 HIMARS launchers using PDAs.
The White House declined to comment on the package.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the value and contents of the weapons package could change up to the last minute.
The announcement would represent more than $16.8 billion in U.S. security assistance since Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Edited by Mary Milliken and Chizu Nomiyama
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