WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden on Thursday authorized another USD 100 million in security assistance to Ukraine, following the passage of the USD 40 billion Ukraine aid bill by Congress, US Department of Defence said in a press statement.
Pentagon Press Secretary John F Kirby said that the aid package includes 18 155 mm howitzers, 18 tactical vehicles to tow those howitzers, three AN/TPQ-36 counter-artillery radars and additional field equipment and spare parts.
"That stuff will start to flow very, very soon," he said. "I cannot give you an exact date of when it's all going to show up in Ukraine, but you can imagine having seen us do this in the past that we're not going to sit on our hands. We'll start flowing that stuff immediately," the release said.
Kirby said that US has provided nearly USD 4 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, since the start of Russian invasion on February 24, this year.
The release also stated that prior to the most current presidential drawdown package, the US provided 90 155 mm howitzers to Ukraine, more than 200,000 artillery rounds, over 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, over 5,000 Javelin anti-armor systems and more than 700 Switchblade tactical unmanned aerial systems.
US is not the only nation sending assistance to Ukraine, Kirby further said, adding that it will continue to work with partner and allied nations to provide the Ukrainians with what is needed to defend their national sovereignty.
Referring to the shortage of infant food caused by supply chain bottlenecks, Kirby said, "While parents struggle with a nationwide shortage of infant formula, US Transportation Command is working with the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration to support "Operation Fly Formula."
"US Transportation Command will leverage its partnership with commercial air carriers to contract and accelerate the importation of infant formula into the United States that meets our government's health and safety standards," he said. " The first step of that is ... working with the interagency to identify locations where formula can be had overseas and then getting the right aircraft in place to bring that to the United States, and then of course working out the destinations," the release quoted Kirby as saying.
While he didn't disclose any of the details for the first of those flights to happen, but he did mention that it appears unlikely it would be military, or "grey tail" aircraft that perform the work. He also said that much of the security assistance going to Ukraine is traveling on commercial contract carriers rather than on US military aircraft.
"We believe at this point that probably the most expeditious and, quite frankly, the most cost-efficient way to support this immediate need would be through commercial contract carriers," Kirby said.