Joe Biden’s additional $800 million humanitarian aid package for Ukraine announced on Wednesday will include funding for state-of-the-art military attack drones.
Biden said that America is leading the effort of a united world to support Ukraine and to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to pay a “very heavy price.” He added that the new aid package will provide Ukraine with an “enormous level of security and humanitarian assistance” and said the U.S. is going to do even more in the weeks ahead.
The new weapons systems being sent to Ukraine include 800 anti-aircraft and 9,000 anti-armor systems. Also being sent across the ocean are thousands of machine guns, grenade launchers and shotguns. The Pentagon is also sending anti-tank Javelin missiles.
The drones being delivered to Ukraine are equipped with guided missiles capable of striking tanks and artillery from several miles away. The weapons package is expected to also include cutting-edge “Switchblade” drones that carry explosives, cameras, and the latest guidance systems.
The U.S. has developed two Switchblade drones. The Switchblade 300 is designed to attack personnel on the ground while the Switchblade 600 is designed to strike tanks and armored vehicles. They move faster and are less expensive to produce than many advanced missile systems.
In his speech detailing the new aid package, Biden did not reference the request made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for a no-fly zone over his country to be enforced by Western powers.
Zelenskyy restated that plea in his address directly to Congress on Wednesday morning. A no-fly zone enforced by the U.S. or NATO would require the shooting down of Russian aircraft over Ukraine, a move that would greatly increase the chances of full-scale war with Russia.
Biden has held firm that the U.S. will not deploy military personnel to the conflict or enforce a no-fly zone.