US announces $400 million military aid package for Ukraine

The US announced on Friday a new $400 million military aid package to Ukraine.

The package includes weapons Ukraine has been asking for, including Patriot missile system munitions, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMAR) systems and ammunition, Stinger anti-air missiles, 155mm artillery rounds, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs), among other equipment.

“As President Biden has made clear, the United States and the international coalition we have assembled will continue to stand with Ukraine in its defense of its freedom,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The announcement marks the second Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) package since President Joe Biden signed a long-delayed national security supplemental securing $60 billion in funding for Ukraine.

Last month, just moments after Biden signed the legislation, the US announced a $1 billion PDA package to Ukraine. Biden said at the time that shipments of the equipment to Ukraine would begin “in the next few hours.” And just two days later, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced a historic $6 billion long-term investment package to purchase new equipment for Ukraine.

The $6 billion package — the largest the US has announced — is under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). USAI is different from than the PDA package in that it contracts with the US defense industry to purchase new equipment, whereas PDAs pull equipment from existing US stocks.

While some equipment under the PDA can arrive within days of the announcement, support under USAI takes longer; Austin said at the time that the Pentagon was “going to move as fast as we can to get them the capability as fast as industry can produce.”

On Friday, the State Department also announced the $30 million sale of HIMARS to Ukraine, a rocket launcher that Kyiv’s military has used to great effect against Russian forces. The emergency sale, which includes three of the HIMARS vehicles, will be paid for by Germany on behalf of Ukraine.

But officials have told CNN that Russia is seeking to exploit that lag time and step up its attacks on Ukraine as the embattled country waits for assistance to arrive. The lag in those shipments is made more severe given the months-long delay in aid as Congress debated the supplemental legislation.

On Wednesday evening, Ukrainian authorities said Russia launched dozens of missiles and drones on Ukraine, targeting energy infrastructure. On Friday, a Ukrainian military source told CNN that Russian forces had penetrated at least one kilometer inside northern Ukraine in an assault on a border town on Thursday evening.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday that Russia “launched a new wave of counteroffensive actions in ([northern Kharkiv region). Ukraine met them there with our troops, brigades and artillery.”

“But our military and military command were aware of this and anticipated their forces to meet the enemy with fire,” he said. “Now there is a fierce battle in this area. … I think as of now we have stopped the enemy with artillery fire.”

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler and Oren Liebermann contributed to this report.

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