President Joe Biden is expected to sign a new weapons package worth at least $100 million for Ukraine as soon as later on Friday, four U.S. officials told Reuters, the latest in a series of transfers to help Kyiv repel Russia’s invasion.
The United States has rushed $3.4bn worth of armaments to Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, including howitzers, anti-aircraft Stinger systems, anti-tank Javelin missiles, ammunition and recently-disclosed “Ghost” drones.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the latest package would likely include more munitions for systems such as the howitzers. The Pentagon says it has already sent about 184,000 artillery rounds.
The announcement could come as early as within the next 24 hours, two of the officials said.
The new tranche of weapons transfers would come from the remaining $250mn in the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the president to authorise the transfer of excess weapons from U.S. stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency.
Last month Biden proposed a $33bn assistance package for Ukraine, including more than $20 billion in military aid.
The United States has been training some Ukrainian forces on how to use systems like the howitzers, outside Ukraine.
Group of Seven (G7) leaders including Biden will hold a video call on Sunday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a show of unity the day before Russia marks its Victory Day holiday, the White House said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin casts the war in Ukraine as a battle to protect Russian speakers there from persecution by Nazis and to guard against what he calls the U.S. threat to Russia posed by NATO enlargement.
Ukraine and the West reject the fascism claim as baseless and say Putin is waging an unprovoked war of aggression.
Ukraine and its allies say that after failing to seize the capital, Kyiv, Russian forces have made slow progress in their goal of capturing the country’s east and south but bombardments have affected more and more civilians.
Russia denies the allegations and says it targets only military or strategic sites, not civilians.