A Ukrainian soldier in the frontline city of Vuhledar, Ukraine, on March 12, 2024.

A Ukrainian soldier in the frontline city of Vuhledar, Ukraine, on March 12, 2024. Wolfgang Schwan / Anadolu via Getty Images

US will send another $300M in weapons to Ukraine, thanks to ‘cost savings’

Good negotiating on earlier contracts freed up funds for rockets and ammo, officials say.

Unexpected savings on weapons purchases has enabled the United States to send a fresh $300 million package of much-needed weapons to Ukraine, officials said Tuesday.

The munitions include Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, HIMARS rockets, 155mm high-explosive and cluster-munition artillery round, 105mm artillery rounds, 84 anti-armor systems, and small arms ammunition, White House officials said. 

“This is possible because of unanticipated cost savings in contracts that DOD negotiated to replace equipment we've already sent to Ukraine through previous drawdowns,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters. “When we sent Ukraine weapons last year, we negotiated contracts to replenish those weapons in US stockpiles. We budgeted the full amount of appropriated funds for those contracts. It turns out we negotiated well. Those contracts came in under budget. So we have a modest amount of funding available. 

“And to put a fine point on it, we were able to use these cost savings to make this modest amount of new security assistance available right now, without impacting U.S. military readiness.”

For weeks, officials and others have warned that Ukraine’s munitions supplies are running low. Ukrainian officials say this has contributed to recent battlefield losses in Avdiivka and elsewhere. 

On Tuesday, Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder declined to say exactly when the new aid will arrive in Ukraine. 

“We've been doing this for a while: U.S. Transportation Command working with the Security Assistance Group. Ukraine has processes in place to ensure that this aid can be delivered as quickly as possible. So it's going to be fast,” Ryder said. 

European allies, which have been rushing munitions to Ukraine, have also been increasing  their own capacity to produce and supply them. But that will take months, during which Ukraine will remain heavily reliant on U.S. supplies,, European observers and U.S. officials have said.

Sullivan and Ryder said the package will only meet short-term needs and again encouraged Congress to pass a supplemental aid bill that includes some $60 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine. 

“We cannot provide ongoing assistance to Ukraine without significantly impacting our military readiness, absent congressional action. That remains the case despite this modest amount of cost savings that we are putting to use on an urgent basis. Congress must act,” Sullivan said. 

Neither Sullivan nor Ryder would confirm a Politico report that the package would contain long-range ATACMS missiles that Ukraine has long sought.