US To Announce $1.8 Billion In Weapons Aid For Ukraine Ahead Of Zelenskyy’s Expected Visit To DC: REPORT

(Photo by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/Handout via Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The Biden administration is set to announce $1.8 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine, including a patriot missile battery, ahead of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s anticipated visit to Washington, D.C., Wednesday evening, The Associated Press reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

New aid for Ukraine, the largest package in months, will include $1 billion worth in weapons drawn from existing U.S. stocks and $800 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which gives the Department of Defense (DOD) authority to procure new equipment, the AP reported, citing U.S. officials. The announcement, expected Wednesday, could come just hours before Zelenskyy meets with Congress that evening if the security situation allows.

Neither event has been formally confirmed, according to the AP. (RELATED: Congress’ Massive Spending Bill Sets Aside Another $45 Billion For Ukraine)

The security package will for the first time include at least one advanced Patriot battery, the officials told the AP, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Inclusion of the expensive and training-intensive capability in the latest supply suggests an expansion in how the Biden administration is approaching ongoing support for Ukraine as Russia continues to bombard the country with drones and missile strikes.

Ukraine has entreated the U.S. for months to supply the powerful, but logistically complicated, Patriot air defense system, but the Biden administration has thus far delayed fulfilling those requests.

CNN first reported the administration was weighing Patriot missiles for Ukraine.

The advanced long-range air defense system promises to be the most effective to date donated in Ukraine’s defense, able to intercept Russian ballistic and cruise missiles that in recent weeks have destroyed large portions of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, CNN reported on Dec. 12. The system could help to secure the airspace of North American Treaty Organization (NATO) members in Eastern Europe, officials also told the outlet.

However, Russia’s defense ministry has warned that supplying the Patriots would constitute a provocation, the AP reported.

Wednesday’s expected package will also include Joint Direct Attack Munitions kits, or JDAMs, in lieu of providing more advanced fighter jets, the officials told the AP. The kits include devices that can be fitted onto regular bombs to enhance accuracy and precision, the Washington Post first reported.

The assistance comes as Zelenskyy is expected to arrive in Washington, D.C., for his first in-person meeting with Congress, Reuters reported. Earlier on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi distributed a letter to colleagues urging them to stay through Wednesday evening for an event featuring a “very special focus on democracy.”

Zelenskyy visited the war-torn city of Bakhmut on Tuesday, the site of some of the most brutal fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces, Reuters reported. Zelenskyy handed out medals to servicemen and received a Ukrainian flag marked with the soldiers’ signatures.

“We will turn it over to the Congress and to the U.S. president from the guys,” Zelenskyy said in a video published on Ukrinform TV, according to Reuters. “We are grateful for the support. But it’s not enough.”

The National Security Council and the Department of Defense did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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