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Reports Outline US Strategy to Arm Ukraine
By Staff, Agencies
US President Joe Biden is looking to mobilize the military industry and send another $750 million worth of the Pentagon’s own weapons stockpile to Ukraine, according to news reports citing anonymous officials in Washington.
This is on top of the $1.7 billion worth of goods sent to Kiev courtesy of American taxpayers since the conflict escalated on February 24.
So far, the US “lethal” aid has consisted mainly of Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger portable anti-air systems. Now, Biden is preparing to escalate the aid to include heavy artillery and other systems, worth $750 million or so, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing two US officials. The official announcement could come within a day or two, the agency added.
Biden wouldn’t need congressional authorization for this, either, as it would be done under a Presidential Drawdown Authority [PDA], which authorizes transfer from current US military stocks in response to an emergency.
This would put the amount of US military aid to Kiev at over $2.4 billion since Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.
The US has sent more than 1,400 Stingers and 5,000 Javelins to Ukraine already, the Financial Times [FT] reported on Tuesday citing the Pentagon. This amounts to a third of the US stock of Javelins and a quarter of its Stingers, estimated the Center for Strategic and International Studies [CSIS], a Washington think tank. At current production rates, it will take three or four years to restock on Javelins and at least five for the Stingers.
Production levels will be one of the topics at the meeting between Pentagon officials and the top eight US weapons manufacturers, which both Reuters and FT said is scheduled for Wednesday. Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and L3 Harris Technologies are expected to be in attendance.
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