The White House action is a response to urgent requests from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for more aid to stave off the Russian invasion, which is now in its third week, the Times reported.
The funds, authorized by Biden through the State Department, would cover weapons as well as military services, education and training, the AP reported.
The latest arms package includes Javelin antitank missiles and Stinger antiaircraft missiles, the Times reported. The aid follows a $350 million arms package the Biden administration approved last month, according to the newspaper. Altogether, the administration has sent $1.2 billion in weapons to Ukraine in the past year, officials said.
Authorization for additional funding comes through the Department of Defense. The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 allows a president to authorize the “disposition of United States property or services,” a drawdown, to foreign nations without legislative authority or budgetary appropriations, according to CNN.
The weapons come from existing U.S. military stockpiles in Europe and will be flown to neighboring countries such as Poland and Romania, the Times reported. From there, they will be shipped overland into western Ukraine.
Western allies, including Biden, have rejected Zelenskyy’s pleas to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine and to provide the country with Polish MiG-29 fighter jets, the newspaper reported. Allies are worried about drawing the United States and NATO into a direct confrontation with Russia.
According to a White House official, Saturday’s announcement brings the total amount of security assistance provided to Ukraine to $1.2 billion over the past year, CNN reported.
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