Biden announces $225 million weapons package for Ukraine, including Patriot system

WASHINGTON — (AP) — President Joe Biden announced a new $225 million aid package for Ukraine on Thursday, including a Patriot missile system to bolster its air defenses against a deadly onslaught of Russian airstrikes.

Biden made the announcement during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who called the announcement “strong news” but pressed that for the immediate future, what the Ukrainians also need is U.S. permission to fire the long-range missiles it has provided at targets deeper inside Russia.

The Patriot air defense system, the second the U.S. has provided to Ukraine, is one of several Biden announced this week at the NATO summit and is part of a swell of pledges to get weapons to Ukraine to help it fend off Russian attacks, including one this week that hit a children's hospital in Kyiv.

The $225 million package also includes Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, and more 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds, among other munitions.

Zelenskyy late last month pleaded for additional U.S.-made Patriot systems, arguing that they will help his forces fight the close to 3,000 bombs that he said Russia launches into the country every month.

On Tuesday, through a joint statement the U.S., Germany and Romania said they would provide Ukraine with Patriot batteries, while the Netherlands and others will provide Patriot components to make up one more battery and Italy will provide a SAMP-T air defense system.

Other allies, including Canada, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom, will provide a number of other systems that will help Ukraine expand its coverage. Those systems include NASAMS, HAWKs, IRIS T-SLM, IRIS T-SLS and Gepards. And other nations have agreed to provide munitions for those systems.

The additional U.S. Patriot system will be paid for through presidential drawdown authority, which allows the military to pull the system directly from its stocks and quickly get it to Ukraine.

In addition, last week the U.S. pledged $150 million in weapons to be pulled directly from its stocks, including air defense interceptors, artillery and other fires, and anti-tank weapons. It also pledged $2.2 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds, a mechanism used to put longer-term weapons systems on order, including Patriot missiles and NASAM air defense systems.

Comments on this article