The Biden administration on Monday announced additional weapons for Ukraine, including munition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System. File Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Defense/UPI
June 27 (UPI) -- The Biden administration on Tuesday announced an additional security package of weapons, munitions and other lethal aid, valued at up to $500 million, for Ukraine as it continues to fight Russia.
The package includes munitions for Patriot air defense systems, 30 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, 25 Stryker Armored Personnel Carriers and ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, better known as HIMARS, as well as Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems and more, according to a list of its contents provided by the Defense Department.
"As we have since the beginning of Russia's illegal and unprovoked invasion, the U.S. will continue to work with our allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements," Defense Department press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters during a press conference.
The package's contents will come from U.S. stockpiles, and is the 41st presidential drawdown for Ukraine since August 2021.
The United States, which is Ukraine's largest backer in its war against the Kremlin, has repeatedly announced military aid for Kyiv since Russia invaded its neighbor on Feb. 24, 2022. The assistance is covered via the presidential drawdown authority, the Defense Department's Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and in Foreign Military Financing for Ukraine.
Since the war began, the Biden administration has committed more than $40.5 billion in security assistance for Ukraine, according to the Department of Defense.
"I am sincerely grateful to @POTUS and all [American] people for another $500 million defense assistance package," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted in appreciation of the package Tuesday.
"Additional Bradley and Stryker armored vehicles, ammunition for HIMARS, Patriots and Stingers will add even more power to the [Ukrainian] Defense Forces. Each package of such assistance is a step towards our common victory over the [Russian] aggressor."
The package was remarked upon by White House principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton during a Washington press conference Tuesday, stating that President Biden and Zelensky had spoken on Sunday.
Biden on Monday told reporters in Washington that he and Zelensky have agreed to stay in "constant contact" after Russia's top military brass avoided a revolt by private military company Wagner Group over the weekend.
Wagner personnel, who have been on the frontlines fighting in Ukraine, turned and headed back toward Moscow last weekend over disagreements with the Russian Defense Department about the war, but the potential mutiny ended when the militia's head, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former Russian President Vladimir Putin ally, reached a deal to live in exile in Belarus.
It is unclear how the development will affect the war, but it revealed signs that Putin's grip on power may be weakening.
Ryder reiterated to reporters Tuesday that they view the situation as "an internal Russian matter" and that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has also reiterated that U.S. support for Ukraine "will not change and that remains our focus."
"As it relates to Ukraine, the war there continues," he said. "Russia's illegal occupation continues, and so we are not going to lose sight of that fact and we're going to continue to work closely with them to provide them with the kinds of capabilities that they need to execute the operation that they planned and that they're conducting."
He said the package announced Monday was not connected to the situation in Russia.