The U.S. Defense Department on Friday announced it will fulfill a virtual wish list for Ukrainian forces battling Russia’s invasion.
The promised goods, worth an estimated $300 million in additional assistance to Ukraine, include laser-guided rocket systems; previously announced armed drones as well as Puma and counter-unmanned drones; armored off-road vehicles; ammunition; machine guns; night-vision devices and more, the department said in a statement.
The hardware will boost the U.S. security commitment to Ukraine to a value of more than $2.3 billion since the beginning of President Joe Biden’s administration, the Defense Department said.
That figure includes more than $1.6 billion in security assistance since Russia’s invasion began Feb. 24. The Biden administration and NATO have been careful about U.S. military support for Ukraine for fear of being seen by Russia as attacking it by proxy and creating an act of war.
The concern was in play as NATO rejected Ukraine’s call for air space protection against Russian aircraft, which could involve direct targeting of those vehicles by the U.S. and allies.
The Pentagon draws its authority for the planned purchases and shipments from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI).
According to the Congressional Research Service, “USAI packages have included training, equipment and advisory efforts to enhance Ukraine’s defensive capabilities.”
The gear and munitions are procured directly from the defense industry, according to the Defense Department.
The commitment will not include equipment that is drawn down from Defense Department stocks.