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Biden administration announces $250 million Ukraine military assistance package as US exhausts available funding

By Oren Liebermann, Natasha Bertrand and Jennifer Hansler, CNN

(CNN) — The US State Department announced a $250 million Ukraine military aid package on Wednesday, the last such package the US will provide to Ukraine until Congress approves the Biden administration’s funding requests.

“This package provides up to $250 million of arms and equipment under previously directed drawdowns for Ukraine,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “Capabilities provided in today’s package include air defense munitions, other air defense system components, additional ammunition for high mobility artillery rocket systems, 155mm and 105mm artillery ammunition, anti-armor munitions, and over 15 million rounds of ammunition.”

Last week, the Biden administration said it had one more Ukraine security package to announce this year, but it would be the final one the US could provide without lawmakers’ approval. Defense Department comptroller Mike McCord said in a letter to Congress that “once these funds are obligated, the Department will have exhausted the funding available to us for security assistance to Ukraine.”

This package marks the limit of the US’ ability to provide weapons to Ukraine without additional funding from Congress. The Biden administration has asked Congress for a supplemental package including more than $60 billion in aid for Ukraine. But the legislation is currently stalled as negotiators try to find a compromise on border security and immigration policy, key Republican demands as part of any deal.

The administration has repeatedly warned that its ability to provide aid to Ukraine was rapidly dwindling, forcing the Pentagon to stretch what little money it had left into smaller aid packages.

“It is imperative that Congress act swiftly, as soon as possible, to advance our national security interests by helping Ukraine defend itself and secure its future,” Blinken said.

Earlier this month, the US announced security packages worth $200 million and $175 million, relatively small compared to the much larger aid packages the administration has been able to send in the past. The US has sent more than $46 billion in military aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began in February 2022.

This aid package announced Wednesday falls under Presidential Drawdown Authority, which is pulled directly from US stocks and can be shipped quickly to Ukraine. The US already exhausted the other key form of assistance, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which allows the Defense Department to contract with arms manufacturers to purchase weapons for Kyiv.

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