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White House to provide $300 million weapons package for Ukraine

The announcement comes as the Ukrainian military is facing dire weapons shortages in its two-year war with Russia.
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The White House will provide $300 million in additional weapons to Ukraine, officials announced Tuesday, as more funding remains held up in Congress by Republican leaders.

The package will be made available through presidential drawdown authority, or PDA, which pulls weapons from existing U.S. stockpiles. The military equipment headed to Ukraine includes anti-aircraft missiles, ammunition, artillery rounds and anti-armor systems, the officials said.

The announcement comes as the Ukrainian military is facing dire weapons shortages in its two-year war with Russia.

“When Russian troops advance and its guns fire, Ukraine does not have enough ammunition to fire back,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in announcing the new aid package.

At the same time, the U.S. has "basically exhausted our funding to assist Ukraine," a senior defense official said.

Ukrainian soldiers fire at Russian positions from a M777 howitzer
Ukrainian soldiers fire at Russian positions from a U.S.-supplied M777 howitzer in Ukraine’s Kherson region on Jan. 9, 2023. Libkos / AP file

Defense officials said they were able to come up with the funding through savings in long-term contracts with weapons makers, but they described it as a one-time arrangement.

The military has been forced to come up with creative ways to pay for weapons packages for Ukraine because of the impasse in Congress. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has refused to bring a bill to the floor that would provide $60 billion in additional aid for Ukraine.

The last supplemental funding package was in December 2022. The U.S. sent $200 million in aid to Ukraine this past December, but it was funded with money from the previous year.

It was not immediately clear if the latest weapons package included long-range ballistic missiles.

NBC News reported last month that the Pentagon was considering giving Ukraine urgent weapons, including the powerful missiles, without waiting for Congress to approve funds.

Two defense officials said at the time that the U.S. has a limited inventory of Army Tactical Missile Systems, known as ATACMS, and that it is not likely to send them to Ukraine without money to replenish U.S. stockpiles.

The U.S. began to supply Ukraine with older medium-range ATACMS late last year. The longer-range version of the missile would allow Ukraine to strike farther inside the Russian-held Crimean Peninsula.

In recent months, Russian forces have gained ground in Ukraine, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stepped up his pleas for additional military aid, saying his army is in desperate need of ammunition and other weapons.