washington d.c. – Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, the United States government has provided $2.6 billion in security assistance to Ukrainians to help them regain and defend their sovereignty .
Much of what has been sent comes directly from US military stocks. Nonetheless, the readiness of the U.S. military has not been affected by sending this equipment overseas, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said during a briefing today. .
Yesterday, the Department of Defense announced an additional $800 million security aid “withdrawal” program to support Ukraine. A withdrawal plan allows the president, under certain circumstances, to withdraw existing weapons, ammunition, and equipment from US military stockpiles for supply to other countries.
The support package announced yesterday is the seventh security aid withdrawal package sent to Ukraine.
During a briefing yesterday, Kirby said Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks had met with US defense company executives to discuss production of the types of systems, equipment and weapons that the United States sends to Ukraine.
“We wanted to make sure we had a good honest and frank discussion with these CEOs about the systems they produce; on the rate at which they are produced; on the possibility of accelerating some of these production lines and expanding them depending on the high pressure on our inventory to support Ukraine,” said Kirby.
While Kirby said Wednesday’s meeting with defense contractor executives was heavily focused on their ability to produce the kinds of things that are being sent to Ukraine, he also said the meeting was part of a series that occurs regularly. For example, a similar meeting focusing on hypersonic technologies was held several months ago.
At yesterday’s meeting, Kirby said, defense contractors such as Boeing, L3-Harris, Raytheon, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Huntington-Ingalls, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman were all represented.
“It was a good discussion,” Kirby said. “We were very grateful … for their willingness to come and have this discussion.”
So far, Kirby said, the Department of Defense has seen no effort from Russia to ban security aid being sent to Ukraine, but the United States remains cautious about its ability to provide Ukrainians with what they need.
“We do not take … any movement of weapons and systems into Ukraine for granted,” he said. “That’s why we’re very careful about how much information we put out about it. This is why… we take care to modulate this activity from day to day. We don’t take it for granted. »
Ukrainians do not take the weapons and systems supplied for granted, and they move the supplies within their country, Kirby said.
According to a Ministry of Defense Fact Sheet released today, as of April 14, the United States has provided or is committed to providing Ukraine with more than 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems; 5,500 Javelin anti-armour systems; 700 Switchblade tactical unmanned aerial systems; 7,000 small arms; 50,000,000 rounds of ammunition; and 18 155mm howitzers with 40,000 155mm artillery shells; 16 Mi-17 helicopters; hundreds of Humvee armored vehicles and 200 M113 armored personnel carriers.