The Department of Defense under Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III on Tuesday announced a new security package for Ukraine. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo
May 9 (UPI) -- The United States announced a new $1.2 billion security package for Ukraine on Tuesday that includes air defense systems and artillery rounds.
The package is to be delivered under the Department of Defense's Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which sees the United States secure the weaponry and training from partners and companies rather than from presidential drawdowns that take from U.S. stockpiles.
"This UAI package underscores the continued U.S. commitment to meeting Ukraine's most urgent requirements by committing critical capabilities such as air defense systems and munitions, while also building the capacity of Ukraine's Armed Forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long-term," Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, told reporters Tuesday during a press briefing.
"The United States will continue to work with our allies and our partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements."
Under the Congress-appropriated Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, $5 billion in contracts have already be awarded this fiscal year. During the last fiscal year, the Department of Defense provided $6.3 billion in security assistance for Ukraine under the initiative.
Tuesday's announcement represents the start of the contracting process to secure companies to provide the equipment, Ryder said, adding that specific air defense systems to be covered by the $1.2 billion will be determined after "exploring options as how to best support" Ukraine.
"The USAI gives us the ability to leverage the power and the capabilities of the private sector in order to support Ukraine's medium- and long-term security assistance needs," he said.
The package also includes what Ryder called "sustainment support" to enable Ukraine to maintain its on-hand systems, as well as counter-unmanned aerial systems, commercial satellite imagery services and support for training, maintenance and "sustainment activities."
The United States has been Ukraine's largest backer in its war against Russia, providing some $21.1 billion in military assistance in 37 presidential drawdowns from U.S. stockpiles since August of 2021.