The money adds to the $2.4 billion in US aid already authorized for the fiscal year, much of it for weapons. Of the new package, US$800 million will go to weapons.
Biden last week announced an aid package that he said provided “new capabilities including artillery systems, artillery shells and armored personnel carriers” as well as the transfer of more helicopters.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the new stretch is intended to help Ukrainian forces resupply weapons as quickly as possible to fight Russia’s new offensive in the east.
“We have been accelerating this assistance on the ground for the last two weeks to make sure they are prepared,” Psaki said. “Not because they’re going to use it all up in seven days, but because we want them to have all of this equipment as quickly as possible as they prepare to fight this war on the ground.”
More than half a dozen equipment flights will land in the region “shortly,” Psaki said. That includes long-range weapons, such as howitzers, which will be used in combat that “we anticipate will occur at this stage of the war,” Psaki said.
Senior administration officials also detailed plans Thursday to allow up to 100,000 Ukrainians to come to the United States for two years, as long as they have a proven sponsor in the country.
A senior government official stressed that Ukrainian citizens traveling to Mexico and trying to enter the US through the southern border will not receive any preference. The official said some 50,000 Ukrainians have already entered the US through Mexico in recent months.
An online portal will open on April 25 to apply for the program.
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