Kyiv, 22 November 2023 (TDI): US President Joe Biden has approved a new military aid package for Ukraine worth up to $100 million, the US Defense Department announced on Monday.
According to the statement released by the US Department of Defense, the new package includes a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, additional ammunition, Javelin and AT-4 anti-tank systems,155-mm and 105-mm artillery shells, and small arms ammunition of over 3 million rounds.
In addition, the package comes with cold-weather gear, spare parts, and demolition ammunition to get rid of obstructions.
The announcement came the same day as Lloyd Austin, US Defense Secretary, visited Kyiv, where he met with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“The message that I bring you today, President, is that the United States of America is with you. We will remain with you for the long haul,” Austin told Zelenskyy.
Austin said Ukraine’s effort to defeat Russian forces “matters to the rest of the world” and reassured him that the American support would continue “for the long haul”.
Later this week, Austin is also expected to host a virtual joint meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, to coordinate further military aid to Ukraine.
Government Shutdown in the US
Early in November, Republicans in the Senate sparked a standoff with Democrats by threatening to block aid unless security resolutions were passed along the country’s southern border.
U.S. President Joe Biden signed a temporary spending bill into law on November 16, averting the impending government shutdown but leaving the issue of continued military aid package for Ukraine unaddressed.
The government will be funded through the end of the year in two staggered installments through February 2 at the latest thanks to the bill, which was approved by bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate.
It reserves funds for the most important government spending priorities but does not include funding for Israel, the Ukraine, humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people, and heightened border security.
At a press conference on November 14, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, announced that Congress would meet again on November 23, following Thanksgiving, to attempt to pass a joint funding bill that includes funding for all four issues.