The United States will soon announce more than USD 2.3 billion in military aid for Ukraine, US Defence Secretary Llyod Austin said on Tuesday, reported CNN. The defence secretary said that this new package will provide new air defence interceptors and other critical munitions from US inventories.

“This package under presidential drawdown authority will provide new air defence interceptors, anti-tank weapons, and other critical munitions from US inventories,” Austin said in a meeting with Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov.

“It will also enable the United States to procure more Patriot and NASAMs air defence interceptors, which will be provided on an accelerated timeline by the resequencing of deliveries for some foreign military sales,” Austin added, according to CNN.

However, it is unclear how much of the total USD 2.3 billion would be under the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which pulls equipment from US stocks, or under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), allowing the US to purchase equipment and systems from the US defence industry.

Notably, the US has been announcing regular packages for Ukraine since Congress passed legislation that approved nearly USD 61 billion in Ukraine aid earlier this year, reported CNN.

The US recently moved Ukraine to the top of the list to receive air defence capabilities, putting it ahead of other countries that may have already been in line to receive them. During that time, a White House official told CNN in private discussions, “many of these countries have understood and appreciated the necessity of this decision.”

“If any of our partners were in an existential situation like the one that Ukraine is in right now, we would move heaven and earth to help them and it just so happens that right now that country is Ukraine,” the official added.

This announcement comes weeks after the US and Ukraine signed a long-term bilateral security pact that commits the US to 10 years of training Ukraine`s armed forces, providing military assistance and increasing intelligence sharing, CNN reported.

Additionally, it also comes one week before the NATO summit scheduled to be held in Washington, DC. Austin further said that they would “take steps to build a bridge to NATO membership for Ukraine.”

Following the announcement, Umerov thanked Austin for his support and said Ukraine has used it to stop Russia, “stop the aggression towards people, towards our values, national interests.”

He further said he looked forward to discussing the possibility of Ukraine becoming a future NATO member, according to CNN. “Hopefully soon, Ukraine will receive its invitation,” Umerov said of NATO.

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