WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed an order to transfer $800 million worth of equipment to help the people of Ukraine defend their freedom.
"The world is united in our support for Ukraine and our determination to make Putin pay a very heavy price," Biden said at the White House this afternoon.
The United States is working with allies and partners around the globe to provide security assistance and humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine. "We're going to continue to do more in the days and weeks ahead," the president said.
The United States, working with allies and partners, has already levied crippling sanctions on Russia. The U.S. military has also deployed personnel and resources to the frontline states of the NATO alliance to ensure every inch of NATO territory is defended.
The nations of the world are taking these steps to defend freedom and the rights of nations to determine their own futures, the president said. "It's about making sure Ukraine will never be a victory for Putin, no matter what advances he makes on the battlefield," he said.
Biden noted that the United States actually started helping Ukraine long before Russia invaded the country. As Putin began to amass troops on the border with Ukraine, "we took the threat of Putin invading very seriously, and we acted on it," he said.
The United States sent $650 million in security assistance beginning in March 2021. This included anti-air and anti-armor weapons that the Ukrainian military has used to great effect, he said. "So, when the invasion began, they already had in their hands the kinds of weapons needed to counter Russian advances," he said.
Once Putin started the war, the United States sent an additional $350 million.
Last weekend, Biden authorized another $200 million to keep a steady flow of weapons and ammunition moving to Ukraine.
The order Biden signed today brings the total of new U.S. security assistance to Ukraine to $1 billion just this week. The latest package is made up of direct transfers of equipment from DOD to the Ukrainian military.
This new package includes 800 anti-aircraft systems and 9,000 anti-armor systems. In addition, the United States is working with allies to identify and transfer longer range anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine, the president said.
The package will also include drones, "which demonstrates our commitment to sending our most cutting-edge systems to Ukraine for its defense," Biden said.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said DOD will move quickly to transfer these capabilities. "Through the additional authority provided in the fiscal 2022 Ukraine supplemental signed into law by the president yesterday, the U.S. Department of Defense is moving expeditiously on the fifth Presidential drawdown of security assistance," he said in a written statement from Brussels where he is attending an extraordinary NATO Defense Ministerial. "Today's drawdown, valued at up to $800 million, brings [the total] to more than $2 billion [in] U.S. security assistance commitment since the beginning of the administration.
"The men and women of the U.S. Defense Department are proud to work in partnership with our colleagues across the U.S. government, as well as so many other nations, to ensure that the people of Ukraine have the equipment they need to effectively defend their country today, and in the future," Austin said.
The White House released a list of the assistance. The package includes 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, 2,000 Javelin, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons and 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems.
The package includes 100 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems.
DOD will also transfer 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns and 400 shotguns to Ukrainian forces along with more than 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds.
The package also includes 25,000 sets of body armor and 25,000 helmets.
"Together with our allies and partners, we're going to stay the course," Biden said. "And we'll do everything we can to push for an end [to] this tragic, unnecessary war. This is a struggle that pitches the appetites of an autocrat against humankind's desire to be free. And let there be no doubt, no uncertainty, no question. America stands with the forces of freedom. We always have, we always will."