Defense

‘For The Long Haul’: US Pledges More Than $2 Billion In Military Aid For Ukraine, Eastern Europe

(Photo by GENYA SAVILOV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $2 billion in military aid to Ukraine and eastern European countries Thursday during a meeting with Ukrainian officials in Kyiv.

Blinken told Ukrainian officials of the additional funding, half of which will go to Ukraine, and other half of which will assist 18 countries the State Department assesses are at the highest risk of future aggression from Russia. The package, made under Foreign Military Financing (FMF), provides recipient countries with funding to purchase U.S.-made weaponry and comes alongside a separate authorization of $675 million drawdown from existing U.S. stocks to supply Ukraine’s effort to repel Russia.

“This assistance demonstrates yet again our unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s future as a democratic, sovereign, and independent state, as well as the security of allies and partners across the region,” the State Department told The Associated Press. (RELATED: Russia Starves West Of Key Gas Line, Reneging On Plans)

Biden had notified Congress of his request for the additional $2 billion FMF for regional partners, including NATO allies, “most potentially at risk for future Russian aggression,” the AP reported.

It will help the smaller countries near Russia “deter and defend against emergent threats to their sovereignty and territorial integrity” and enhance their interoperability with NATO troops, the State Department told the AP. Financing is divided between Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced a separate $675 package of U.S. heavy weaponry, armored vehicles and artillery munitions for Ukraine at a conference with other global military leaders at the U.S. military base in Ramstein, Germany on Thursday.

The U.S. has committed over $15 billion to Ukraine since January 2021. Austin said the U.S. and Western allies needed to invest in Ukraine’s military “for the long haul,” to include not only the ongoing conflict but future defense and deterrence needs.

The package is the twentieth drawdown from Department of Defense inventories authorized by the Biden administration but leaves roughly $2.1 billion congressionally-authorized drawdown funds, which expire at the end of September, untapped.

Ukraine recently launched a counteroffensive campaign in the Kherson region and appears to have made gains, Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Mark Milley said in a press conference after the announcement.

“To date, Ukraine is effectively using their fires to shape the ground maneuver as they continue their offensives in the south,” Milley said.

“The Russians have achieved minor tactical success, but so far Russian strategic objectives have been defeated” due to massive assistance flows for Ukraine and the ability of Ukrainian forces to exercise command and control over foreign equipment, Milley added.

Germany and the Netherlands announced demining training and financial support at the conference, according to the AP. Denmark, Poland and the U.K also announced additional military support.

The State Department did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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