The Biden administration has approved an additional $1.1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the country's armed forces battle Russia following its unprovoked invasion. Photo by Ukrainian President Press Office/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The Biden administration announced an additional $1.1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine Wednesday, following Russia's recent referendums in four occupied regions of Ukraine.
The latest U.S. security package is the 22nd installment to Ukraine, under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which has totaled more than $16.2 billion in aid since Russia's unprovoked invasion in February.
Wednesday's announcement comes after referendums were held Friday in four Russian strongholds, the Luhansk, Kherson, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions in Ukraine. The votes in the referendums were widely condemned in the international community as rigged and illegitimate, with the White House calling them a "sham."
Russian state media reported landslide wins, claiming 98% of Luhansk, 99% of Donetsk, 93% of Zaporizhzhia and 83% of Kherson voters chose annexation. Russia's government still needs to formalize the annexations, but NATO called the referendums a clear violation of the U.N. Charter saying the defensive alliance "will not recognize" the results.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, the United States and its allies have responded with repeated rounds of sanctions and other punitive measures targeting the Kremlin, while providing military and humanitarian support to Kyiv.
Wednesday's $1.1 billion in U.S. security aid, which follows another $1 billion in June, will supply Ukraine's armed forces with additional reinforcements.
The military equipment includes 18 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, 150 armored multipurpose vehicles, 150 tactical vehicles to tow weapons, as well as 40 trucks and 80 trailers to transport heavy equipment. The package also includes two radars for unmanned aerial systems, 20 multi-mission radars, in addition to security communication systems and body armor.
We "continue to work with Ukraine to meet both its immediate and longer-term security assistance needs," the Department of Defense said in a statement.
"Together with our allies and partners, our unified efforts will help Ukraine continue to be successful today while building the enduring strength of Ukraine's forces to ensure the continued freedom and independence of the Ukrainian people."