White House announces $300m emergency military aid package for Ukraine

Measure comes amid deadlock in Congress over much larger assistance package

Ukrainian soldiers prepare to fire rockets near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. AP
Powered by automated translation

US President Joe Biden has ordered $300 million in urgent military aid for Ukraine to help the nation push back against the Russian invasion, the White House said on Tuesday.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the measure would allow Kyiv's army to continue fighting for a short time, as a much larger aid package remains blocked in Congress.

“Today, on behalf of President Biden, I'm announcing an emergency package of security assistance and $300 million worth of weapons and equipment to address some of Ukraine's pressing needs,” Mr Sullivan said.

“We cannot provide ongoing assistance to Ukraine without significantly impacting our military readiness without congressional action. Congress must act.”

He said the emergency package was coming from unanticipated cost savings from Pentagon contracts and contains a large number of artillery rounds, launchers and munitions for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, which the US first sent to Ukraine in June 2022.

The announcement came as Mr Biden met Poland’s President and Prime Minister later on Tuesday to discuss ways to support Ukraine.

Polish President Andrzej Duda told reporters he agreed with Mr Biden that aid for Ukraine is very important.

"Financial support for Ukraine is cheap if you take into account what other forms of support would be needed if it comes to war and to an attack on Nato countries," he also told US politicians before meeting the President.

Mr Biden also warned how essential backing Ukraine was for western democracy.

"Russia won't stop at Ukraine," he said.

"[Russian President Vladimir] Putin will keep going, putting Europe, the United States and the entire free world at risk."

Pentagon press secretary Maj Gen Pat Ryder said the package would also include Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, small-arms ammunition and cluster munitions.

The weapons will arrive in Ukraine quickly and will give the Ukrainians much-needed capabilities that will probably last for a “few weeks”, Maj Gen Ryder said.

“But nowhere even close to what they need to be able to continue to sustain this fight,” he said, calling on Congress to approve more funds.

Politico, meanwhile, reported that the US is also planning to send a number of additional long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems to Ukraine.

Another $60 billion in Ukraine funding has been approved by the Senate butMike Johnson, the Speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, is refusing to bring the matter to a vote.

Former president Donald Trump – the front-runner for the Republicans' presidential nomination – pressured Mr Johnson not to, as he was wary of giving the Democrats an election-year win.

Thomas Watkins contributed to this report

Updated: March 13, 2024, 5:05 AM