President Biden on Friday announced another security assistance package for Ukraine totaling $150 million that he said would include artillery ammunition, radar and other equipment.
“Today, the United States continues our strong support for the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their country against continued aggression from Russia,” Biden said in a statement.
Biden warned that the latest round of assistance would nearly exhaust the military aid that Congress has approved for the administration to give to Ukraine.
In March, Congress authorized $13.6 billion in economic, security and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. The White House had previously said the administration had about $250 million left in military assistance.
On Friday, Biden pressed Congress to quickly approve more aid for Ukraine. The White House has requested $33 billion in additional security, economic and humanitarian assistance to help Ukraine fight the Russian war and address the impacts of the conflict. The administration believes that amount of assistance is needed to sustain Ukraine for the next five months.
“With today’s announcement, my Administration has nearly exhausted the funds that can be used to send security assistance through the withdrawal authorities for Ukraine,” Biden said in Friday’s statement announcing the new assistance. “For Ukraine to be successful in this next phase of the war, its international partners, including the US, must continue to demonstrate our unity and determination to keep the flow of arms and ammunition to Ukraine, without interruption. Congress must quickly provide the requested funds to strengthen Ukraine on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.”
Congress is currently drafting legislation to comply with the administration’s request. There is bipartisan support for providing more assistance to Ukraine, but the approval process may be complicated by a separate administration request for more COVID-19 pandemic assistance.
While some in the administration would like to see Ukraine and COVID-19 funding tied together and passed in a single bill, Republicans have been skeptical about the need for additional funding for the pandemic.
The Biden administration has sent billions in aid, including heavy weapons, to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24. Biden last announced an aid package on April 21 totaling $800 million.
Ukraine, bolstered by aid from the US and its allies, repelled Russia’s effort to seize the capital of kyiv and has inflicted some embarrassing losses on Moscow in the more than two months since the invasion began.
The new aid package comes days before Victory Day, the May 9 holiday in which Moscow marks the country’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. Russia usually marks the holiday with a massive military parade, but this year some have speculated that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the day to formally declare war on Ukraine.
The White House has warned that Russia could try to annex more Ukrainian territory on May 9, which is next Monday.
Biden is scheduled to hold a call with other leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday.
Updated at 5:34 pm