Blinken announces $2B arms deal for Ukraine

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday announced the U.S. was sending another $2 billion to Ukraine as Washington seeks to bolster Ukrainian troops on the front line against a major Russian offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Blinken said at a press conference in Kyiv that the new package would include money through the foreign military financing program, which allows Ukraine to purchase weapons directly from the U.S. industry before delivery.

Those types of shipments can take longer to reach Ukraine than a presidential drawdown authority, which takes existing weapons from U.S. stocks. But the latest package comes off the heels of two separate tranches that used the drawdown authority, which were announced in previous weeks and are worth nearly $1.5 billion.

Russia’s Kharkiv pressure creates new challenge for Ukraine

Blinken said weapons from those two packages have already arrived on the battlefield or are on the way, and the new foreign military financing assistance will help to boost Ukraine’s industrial defense base along with giving them more weapons.

“The newest support that I just announced, but particularly the $60 billion supplemental, we know is coming at a critical time,” he said, referencing the April national security bill that included $61 billion for Ukraine. “Ukraine is facing this renewed brutal Russian onslaught and we see, again, senseless strikes at civilians, residential buildings.”

The U.S. last month also announced a $6 billion package for Ukraine through the foreign military finance program.

The announcement comes as Ukraine is struggling to fend off a major Russian attack in Kharkiv, which has forced the evacuation of thousands of civilians. Russian forces have pressed Ukrainian troops on a new front, which could endanger Ukraine’s defenses in other critical areas across the eastern frontline.

Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials in Kyiv after he landed Tuesday.

On Wednesday, he spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba about several issues, including bilateral security agreements that will see countries support Ukraine over the next decade.

Blinken said he expected those agreements to be finalized soon and emphasized that they signal the U.S. and other countries are ready to support Ukraine for a “long time.”

“The heavy lifting has been done,” he said of the agreements. “For anyone who’s tempted to bet against Ukraine, don’t.”

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