Biden approves an additional $1.1 billion in security assistance for Ukraine

Biden approves an additional $1.1 billion in security assistance for Ukraine

The Biden administration announced a military aid package to Ukraine of over $1 billion.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre revealed the $1.1 billion package at Wednesday's press briefing, which comes a day after Russia's rigged referendums in occupied Ukrainian territories went in favor of joining the Russian Federation, which has been a foregone conclusion since they were announced.

This package includes 18 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, ammunition for them, which U.S. officials have credited for Ukraine's successful counteroffensive earlier this month, and 12 Titan systems, which are used to counter drones. It brings the total number of HIMARS the United States has provided to Ukraine to 34, according to a Department of Defense fact sheet.

"The procurement and delivery of these HIMAR systems and associated ammunition will take a few years," a senior defense official told reporters on Wednesday, adding that that's not the case "for most of the other capabilities in this package. We expect delivery timelines to be between six and 24 months."

This aid package is being funded under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) instead of through the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) allows the pentagon to procure these capibilities from industry manufacturers.

Russia said referendums in four major territories in Ukraine — the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson — supposedly resulted in overwhelming support for joining the Russian Federation.

Jean-Pierre said last week that the Biden administration is "prepared to impose additional swift and severe economic costs on Russia along with our allies and partners" if it goes ahead with annexing the territory. She has also said the U.S. would "never" recognize that territory as Russian.

The U.S. has given Ukraine more than $16 billion in military aid since Russia invaded roughly seven months ago in late February.

by Mike Brest, Defense Reporter