The Biden administration on Monday approved a new $350 million package of military aid for Ukraine, U.S. officials said, a critical injection as Ukraine grapples with ammunition shortages and gears up for a spring offensive.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in a statement that the aid package would include more ammunition for howitzers and HIMARS rocket launchers — the American-made truck mounted rocket system — in addition to “ammunition for Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, HARM missiles, anti-tank weapons, riverine boats, and other equipment.”
This additional drawdown of military equipment from the Pentagon’s stockpiles is the 34th since last August, the Defense Department said in a statement. “To meet Ukraine’s evolving battlefield requirements, the United States will continue to work with its allies and partners to provide Ukraine with key capabilities,” the statement added.
The Biden administration has authorized drawdowns valued at approximately $19.95 billion since August 2021. In total, the United States. has committed more than $32.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning the war, according to the Defense Department.
Ammunition shortages are of particular concern for Ukraine’s military, which is using artillery shells faster than its Western allies can produce and supply them. This has, at times, led to firing far fewer artillery shells than they otherwise would.
Ukrainian troops have burned through equipment in Bakhmut, a city in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine that has been devastated by a grueling, monthslong battle. The military is using thousands of artillery shells a day as it tries to hold the city.
European Union foreign and defense ministers, too, on Monday agreed to spend up to 2 billion euros, or $2.14 billion, to provide Ukraine with artillery shells, ramp up Europe’s ammunition production and replenish their own national stocks. The details of the agreement are not yet finalized.