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U.S. readies $2 bln-plus Ukraine aid package with longer-range weapons -sources

2023-01-31T22:40:20Z

Javeline anti-tank missiles are displayed on the assembly line as U.S. President Joe Biden tours a Lockheed Martin weapons factory in Troy, Alabama, U.S. May 3, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The United States is readying more than $2 billion worth of military aid for Ukraine that is expected to include longer-range rockets for the first time and other munitions and weapons, two U.S. officials briefed on the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

The weapons aid is expected to be announced as soon as later this week, the officials said. It is also expected to include support equipment for Patriot air defense systems, precision guided munitions and Javelin anti-tank weapons, they added.

One of the officials said that a portion of the package, $1.725 billion, would come from a fund known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows President Joe Biden’s administration to get weapons from industry rather than from existing U.S. weapons stocks.

The USAI funds would go toward the purchase of a new weapon, Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), which have a range of 94 miles (150 km). The United States has rebuffed requests for the 185-mile (297-km) range ATACMS missile.

The longer range of the GLSDB glide bomb could allow Ukraine to hit valuable military targets that have been out of reach and help it continue pressing its counterattacks by disrupting Russia further behind its lines.

Reuters first reported on Boeing Co’s (BA.N) proposal to field GLSDB for Ukraine in November.

The White House declined to comment.

In addition to the USAI funds, more than $400 million worth of aid was expected to come from Presidential Drawdown Authority funds, which allows the president to take from current U.S. stocks in an emergency.

That aid was expected to include mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs), guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS) and ammunition.

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