Biden administration deploys $270 million arms package for Ukraine

The Biden administration on Friday rolled out a $270 million security assistance package for Ukraine, which includes four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and hundreds of tactical drones.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters the package includes $175 million in presidential withdrawal authorization, which allows the Pentagon to send in weapons from its own stocks.

The remaining $95 million will be used to contract up to 580 Phoenix Ghost unmanned aerial systems under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

The Pentagon first sent the drones in April, when it included 121 as part of an $800 million weapons package. Drones are similar to the Switchblade drone, which is a small, rapidly deployable system that can travel short distances and is difficult to detect.

In a statement released later Friday, the Pentagon said the withdrawal package would also contain four command post vehicles and 36,000 rounds of 105mm ammunition, along with additional anti-armour weapons, spare parts and other equipment.

The United States has now committed to supplying 16 of the HIMARS to Ukraine, enabling Kyiv to strike targets at greater ranges inside Ukraine.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters on Thursday that the Russians had not destroyed any HIMARS sent by the United States or its allies and they were still being used on the battlefield. .

About 200 Ukrainians have been trained on the systems and that HIMARS training continues, Milley added.

The United States has committed $8.2 billion in security assistance since the start of the Biden administration, including $7.6 billion since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said the Pentagon said in a fact sheet.

Updated at 4:34 p.m.

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