Another $400 Million Military Aid Package for Ukraine

The Department of Defense (DOD) plans to send millions of dollars’ worth of additional military aid to Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), the agency announced on Nov. 4.

The assistance package is aimed at helping to build the Ukrainian forces’ capacity to defend its sovereignty in the long term and “underscores” Washington’s continued support to help meet Ukraine’s “most urgent needs,” a Nov. 4 press release by the DOD stated.

The department will send 45 refurbished T-72B tanks with advanced optics, communications, and armor packages; 1,100 Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems; and 40 armored riverine boats.

The T-72B tanks included in the package are part of a trilateral coordinated effort between the United States, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands.

In addition, the DOD will provide funding to refurbish HAWK air defense missiles and 250 M1117 armored security vehicles in future presidential drawdown packages. The department will also grant funds for training, maintenance, and sustainment activities, as well as secure tactical communication and surveillance systems.

“Unlike Presidential Drawdown authority (PDA), which DoD has continued to leverage to deliver equipment to Ukraine from DoD stocks at a historic pace, USAI is an authority under which the United States procures capabilities from industry,” the release said.

“This announcement represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional priority capabilities to Ukraine.”

Since President Joe Biden took office, the United States has committed more than $18.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, $18.2 billion of which came after Russia’s invasion of the country began on Feb. 24. Since 2014, the United States has granted Ukraine more than $21 billion in security assistance.

Weapons Inspections
The DOD is also sending weapons experts to Ukraine to inspect the arms it has supplied to the war-torn nation. The decision comes as concerns rise about the proper delivery and use of the weapons.

In an Oct. 31 briefing, a senior defense official said that the department has “not seen credible evidence” that U.S.-supplied weapons have been diverted.

“We see Ukraine’s frontline units effectively employing security assistance every day on the battlefield. Nonetheless, we are keenly aware of the possible risk of illicit diversion and are proactively taking all available steps to prevent this from happening,” the official said.

On Oct. 18, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stated that there would be no “blank check” for Ukraine should Republicans gain the majority in the House.

In an interview with CNBC, McCarthy reiterated his stance, pointing out that though Ukraine is very important, there should be no black check on anything, as the United States is already $31 trillion in debt.