New US military aid package to Ukraine expected to be worth around $1 billion

The Biden administration is preparing a new aid package for Ukraine that is expected to be worth around $1 billion, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNN, and is set to be approved by President Joe Biden after the Senate passes a new foreign aid funding bill as soon as Tuesday afternoon.

In briefings to Congress in recent weeks, administration officials have indicated that the US will likely send Ukraine long-range ATACMS, or Army Tactical Missile Systems, for the first time as part of the new aid package, three of the sources said.

Ukrainian officials have been asking the US both in private and in public for the long-range missile to target deeper behind Russian lines. American officials have resisted, citing both supplies and further provoking Moscow as excuses.

Last fall the US first sent Ukraine the midrange variant of the missile system, which can reach about 100 miles, while the longer-range version can reach as far as 190 miles.

The package is also expected to include more desperately needed munitions for Ukraine, including air defense and artillery ammunition, Bradley fighting vehicles and demolition weaponry, the sources said.

The text of the legislation passed by the House and set to be approved by the Senate requires the administration to transfer the coveted longer-range ATACMS “as soon as practicable,” unless the president determines that doing so would be detrimental to US national security interests.

The military aid will be sourced from the US’ own stockpiles through a funding mechanism known as presidential drawdown authority, or PDA, and will be the first PDA package for Ukraine since March. It will be significantly larger than that package, however, which was worth only around $300 million that the Pentagon was able to scrounge together from cost savings elsewhere in the department.

A White House official declined to comment on the contents of the PDA except to say that the US is “prepared to quickly send military aid to Ukraine to meet their urgent battlefield and air defense needs as soon as the supplemental passes the Senate and is signed into law.”

US European Command is now working to process the weaponry so that once the Senate passes the aid, it can flow into Ukraine as efficiently as possible, officials told CNN. Once the funding is passed, the Pentagon can begin to transfer the aid “within a week or two,” Celeste Wallander, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told lawmakers earlier this month.

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