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Biden administration authorizes $725 million in additional security assistance for Ukraine

By Shawna Mizelle, CNN

The Biden administration authorized an additional $725 million dollars in security aid for Ukraine Friday, as the country recovers from Russia’s recent barrage of missile attacks on civilian targets.

The Presidential Drawdown includes “munitions, arms and equipment from US Department of Defense inventories,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Friday.

The additional assistance brings the total US military aid to Ukraine since January 2021 to more than $18 billion, Blinken said.

The assistance includes High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARMs), anti-tank weapons and small arms as well ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and small arms, according to a press release from the Department of Defense. The aid package also provides medical supplies, more than 200 high mobility vehicles, and thousands of artillery rounds and rounds of Remote Anti-Armor Mine (RAAM) systems.

“We will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and independence with extraordinary courage and boundless determination,” Blinken said. “The capabilities we are delivering are carefully calibrated to make the most difference on the battlefield for Ukraine.”

The announcement for additional aid follows a brutal week of deadly Russian strikes in Ukraine, including in the Kyiv region, on civilian targets. The strikes have damaged Ukraine’s power systems, forcing people to reduce consumption to avoid blackouts.

The strikes have been viewed as retaliation for the recent explosion on the Crimea bridge that curtailed road and rail traffic, striking a blow against Russia’s military effort in Ukraine.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Thursday following the NATO defense ministerial meeting, other countries have committed to aiding Ukraine as well. Spain will provide additional air defense “Hawk systems” to Ukraine, Austin said, and, according to the Defense Department’s release, Germany recently delivered its first of four IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukraine.

CNN previously reported that Western sanctions have sharply curtailed Russia’s ability to replenish the munitions it is using in Ukraine, according to a new analysis from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, forcing Moscow to task its intelligence services with finding ways to evade restrictions and procure the critical technology and parts to sustain its war effort.

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CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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