WASHINGTON ― More than a dozen European allies will get nearly $400 million in new U.S. grants to buy American military hardware to backfill weapons they’ve donated to Ukraine from their own stockpiles, the State Department announced Monday.
Of more than $700 million in newly announced aid for Ukraine, $391 million in Foreign Military Financing is for 15 allies in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, while another $322 million is for Ukraine forces to “transition to more advanced weapons and air defense systems,” State Department Ned Price said in a statement.
Such financing is different from previous U.S. military assistance for Ukraine. It is not a donation of drawn-down U.S. Defense Department stockpiles, but rather cash countries can use to purchase supplies from the U.S.
The new money ― along with the U.S.-funded sale of $165 million in artillery rounds, mortars, rockets, grenades and other ammunition for Soviet-era weapons in Ukraine’s arsenal the U.S. does not make ― brings the total American military assistance to Ukraine to $3.7 billion since the invasion, officials said.
The announcement came after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials for three hours in Kyiv on Sunday.
Austin is due to meet Tuesday in Germany with his counterparts from a handful of nations to discuss the current and future defense needs of Ukraine.
At a joint press conference with Blinken in Poland after the Ukraine trip, Austin told reporters that, amid the fight’s shifting focus to the eastern Donbas region, Zelenskyy is requesting tanks, artillery and other munitions.
“We’re going to push as hard as we can, as quickly as we can to get them what they need. This will be a great topic of conversation for our meeting tomorrow,” Austin said.
Austin told Ukrainian officials the U.S. Defense Department will also expand military training for Ukrainian service members in the region on certain provided weapons systems.
U.S. officials said last week Ukrainian forces had begun U.S. training on howitzer artillery systems outside Ukraine and that the training would take about a week.
“The first step in winning is believing that you can win,” Austin said. “We believe that they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support, and we’re going to do everything we can ... to ensure that gets to them.”
In a sharpening of U.S. rhetoric toward Moscow, Austin also told reporters the U.S. hopes the war in Ukraine will mean Russia can no longer invade its neighbors.
“We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” Austin said. “It has already lost a lot of military capability and a lot of its troops, quite frankly, and we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability.”
Austin also said Washington wants Ukraine to “remain a sovereign country, a democratic country, able to protect its sovereign territory.”
The State Department also announced Monday President Joe Biden will nominate Bridget Brink, currently the U.S. ambassador to Slovakia, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
Brink previously served as senior advisor and deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and as the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassies in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Tbilisi, Georgia.
With reporting by The Associated Press.
Joe Gould was the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He had previously served as Congress reporter.