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U.S. quietly OKs $200-mln in Ukraine aid
Journal Staff Report

WASHINGTON, Jan 11 The Biden administration has quietly authorized an additional $200 million in security assistance to Ukraine in late December as tensions with Russia have increased, CNN reported Monday.

The security package authorized the shipment of much of the same defensive equipment the US has provided in the past, including small arms and ammunition, secure radios, medical equipment, spare parts and other equipment, CNN said citing four people familiar with the matter.

The package was authorized just weeks before the US and Russia were set to begin this week's talks.

The administration quietly notified Congress of the new authorization earlier this month, two of the people said. Some officials found out about it though classified channels, two of the sources added. The equipment will likely take some time to deliver -- a delivery of $60 million worth of equipment authorized last summer is only now nearing completion, a State Department official told CNN.

The State Department said that weaponry was delivered over the last few weeks and that assistance will continue, but declined to discuss specifics.

"I'm not going to get into every tranche and update of security assistance. The point is: we have given more security assistance to Ukraine in the last year than at any point since 2014. Those deliveries are ongoing, as recently as in the last few weeks, and there are more scheduled in the coming weeks," a State Department spokesperson said.

By contrast, earlier the State Department has spoken to specific details surrounding the additional security assistance that was authorized. In this case the Biden administration appeared to want to keep this new package out of the limelight ahead this week's talks, two congressional sources said.

The National Security Council referred CNN to the State and Defense departments for comment. The Pentagon did not respond to requests for comment.

As of mid-December, the US had provided Ukraine with more than $450 million in security assistance, a White House official told CNN at the time. By the end of the year, the administration had delivered new Javelin missiles and Command Launch Units, Island Class Patrol Boats, first aid kits, secure radios, electronics, medical equipment, engines, generators, spare parts and other equipment, the official said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told ABC on Sunday that the administration had continued to provide defensive assistance to Ukraine "as recently as the last couple of weeks" and that "if there is further aggression by Russia against Ukraine, we'll see even more of that." (om/ez)

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