US announces $1.1 billion more in military aid for Ukraine

The U.S. will provide an additional $1.1 billion in aid to Ukraine, with funding for 18 more advanced rocket systems and other weapons to counter drones that Russia has been using against Ukrainian troops, the Biden administration announced Wednesday.

The latest package is being provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which funds contracts to purchase weapons and equipment. And it brings the total of U.S. aid to Ukraine to nearly $17 billion since the Biden administration took office.

The aid announcement comes as Russia moves to annex parts of Russian-occupied Ukraine that held Kremlin-orchestrated referendums on living under Moscow’s rule. The votes were denounced by Kyiv and the West as illegal and rigged.

“We will not be deterred from supporting Ukraine, we will continue to stand with the Ukrainian people, and provide them with the security assistance they need to defend themselves, for as long as it takes,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Since the funding is for contracts for weapons and equipment, it is aimed at helping Ukraine secure its longer-term defense needs. It could take a year or two for Ukraine to get the systems. The U.S. has used Pentagon drawdown authority to provide weapons more immediately, and another announcement for that Defense Department aid is expected early next week.

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