US set to announce over $2.3 billion arms package for Ukraine, Pentagon says

U.S. Defense Secretary Austin hosts Ukrainian Defense Minister Umerov in Washington

By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States will soon announce more than $2.3 billion in new security assistance for Ukraine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday during a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart at the Pentagon.

Austin also gave a nod to Ukraine's aspirations to eventually join NATO, more than two years after Russia's full-scale invasion. Referring to next week's NATO summit in Washington, he said, "We will take steps to build a bridge to NATO membership for Ukraine."

He did not elaborate.

Ukrainian officials have been urging their allies for months to supply more air defense systems to counter frequent missile and drone attacks from Russian forces.

Austin said the latest weapons package for Ukraine would include arms such as anti-tank weapons and air defense interceptors, and would allow accelerated procurement of NASAMS and Patriot air defense interceptors.

"I am proud that the United States will soon announce more than $2.3 billion in new security assistance for Ukraine," Austin said just before entering a meeting with Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov.

"This package, under presidential drawdown authority, will provide more air defense interceptors, anti-tank weapons and other critical munitions from the U.S. inventories."

The United States has provided Ukraine with more than $50 billion worth of military aid since 2022, but there are concerns about the future of U.S. support for Kyiv should Donald Trump win the Nov. 5 presidential election.

Two key advisers to Trump have presented him with a plan to end Russia's war in Ukraine, if he is elected. It involves telling Ukraine that it will get more U.S. weapons only if it enters peace talks with Moscow.

The proposal would mark a big shift in the U.S. position on the war and face opposition from European allies and within Trump's own Republican Party.


During the meeting with Austin, Umerov said Ukraine was looking forward to becoming a member of NATO. "Hopefully soon Ukraine will receive its invitation."

Umerov, in comments posted later on the Telegram messaging app, expressed thanks for the new assistance.

Work is proceeding "so that Ukraine will receive more air defence systems as quickly as possible," he said.

He added that Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyn had described as vital that detailed steps be taken at the NATO summit, particularly to ensure funding from the alliance to boost Ukraine's defence capability.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who lobbied unsuccessfully for a political invitation to join the alliance at its summit in Vilnius last summer, has said that this year's summit should resolve the matter of inviting Kyiv to join.

While NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and Washington have both said they do not expect the alliance's 32 members at the July 9-11 summit to invite Ukraine to join while it remained at war with Russia, Stoltenberg has said he hopes to show Kyiv that it is moving closer to membership.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Mark Heinrich, Ron Popeski and Richard Chang)