By C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (May 19, 2022) -- The Pentagon announced today that another tranche of presidential drawdown support is headed to Ukraine. The latest package is worth $100 million and mostly includes more of the same items the U.S. has sent to Ukraine in the past.
Included in the latest package are 18 155 mm howitzers, 18 tactical vehicles to tow those howitzers, three AN/TPQ-36 counter-artillery radars and additional field equipment and spare parts, said Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby during an afternoon briefing today at the Pentagon.
"That stuff will start to flow very, very soon," he said. "I cannot give you an exact date of when it's all going to show up in Ukraine, but you can imagine having seen us do this in the past that we're not going to sit on our hands. We'll start flowing that stuff immediately."
Since the start of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, the U.S. has provided nearly $4 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, Kirby said.
Prior to the most current presidential drawdown package, the U.S. provided 90 155 mm howitzers to Ukraine, along with more than 200,000 artillery rounds. The U.S. has also provided over 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, over 5,000 Javelin anti-armor systems and more than 700 Switchblade tactical unmanned aerial systems.
The U.S. is not the only nation sending assistance to Ukraine, Kirby said, and the U.S. will continue to work with partner and allied nations to provide the Ukrainians with what is needed to defend their national sovereignty.
While parents struggle with a nationwide shortage of infant formula, U.S. Transportation Command is working with the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration to support "Operation Fly Formula," Kirby said.
"U.S. Transportation Command will leverage its partnership with commercial air carriers to contract and accelerate the importation of infant formula into the United States that meets our government's health and safety standards," he said. "The first step of that is ... working with the interagency to identify locations where formula can be had overseas and then getting the right aircraft in place to bring that to the United States, and then of course working out the destinations."
While he didn't say when the first of those flights would happen, Kirby did say it appears unlikely it would be military, or "grey tail" aircraft that perform the work.
"We believe at this point that probably the most expeditious and, quite frankly, the most cost-efficient way to support this immediate need would be through commercial contract carriers," Kirby said.
Kirby also pointed out that much of the security assistance going to Ukraine is traveling on commercial contract carriers rather than on U.S. military aircraft.