WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden instructed the US State Department to release up to an additional US$350 million worth of weapons from US stocks to Ukraine on Friday as it struggles to repulse a Russian invasion.
In a memorandum to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Biden directed that US$350 million allocated through the Foreign Assistance Act be designated for Ukraine's defence.
Ukraine has been asking for Javelin anti-tank weapons and Stinger missiles to shoot down aircraft.
On Saturday (Feb 26), Blinken said in a statement that this third authorisation for weapons shipments to Ukraine was "unprecedented." The Pentagon said the weapons included anti-armour, small arms and various munitions in support of Ukraine's front-line defenders.
The United States drew from US weapons stocks to supply Ukraine in the fall of 2021 and then again in December. Over the past year the United States has committed more than US$1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, Blinken said.
Other nations have pledged military materiel to Kyiv as Ukraine's military fights against an invading Russian force. Russian troops started advancing into Ukraine again on Saturday after President Vladimir Putin paused the offensive a day earlier in anticipation of talks with Kyiv that never happened, the Kremlin said.
The Netherlands will supply 200 Stinger air defence rockets to Ukraine as quickly as possible, the Dutch government said in a letter to parliament on Saturday.
Belgium has pledged 2,000 machine guns and 3,800 tons of fuel.
France has decided to send defensive military equipment to Ukraine to support the country against Russia's invasion, a French army spokesman said on Saturday, adding that the issue of sending offensive arms was still under consideration.