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Reports outline US strategy to arm Ukraine

US President Joe Biden is looking to mobilize the military industry and send another $750 million worth of the Pentagon’s own weapons stockpile to Ukraine, according to new reports citing anonymous officials in Washington. This is on top of the $1.7 billion worth of goods sent to Kiev courtesy of American taxpayers since the conflict escalated on February 24.

So far the US “lethal” aid has consisted mainly of Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger portable anti-air systems.Now Biden is preparing to escalate the aid to include heavy artillery and other systems, worth three-quarters of a billion or so, Reuters reported on Tuesday citing two US officials. The official announcement could come within a day or two, the agency added.

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Biden wouldn’t need congressional authorization for this, either, as it would be done under a Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which authorizes transfer from current US military stocks in response to an emergency.

READ MORE: Old German tanks could be sent to Ukraine

This would put the amount of US military aid to Kiev at over $2.4 billion since Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, when added to the White House’s own figures made public last week.

The US has sent more than 1,400 Stingers and 5,000 Javelins to Ukraine already, Financial Times (FT) reported on Tuesday citing the Pentagon. This amounts to a third of the US stock of Javelins and a quarter of its Stingers, estimated the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington think-tank. At current production rates, it will take 3-4 years to restock on Javelins and at least five for the Stingers.

Production levels will be one of the topics at the meeting between the Pentagon officials and top eight US weapons manufacturers, which both Reuters and FT said is scheduled for Wednesday. Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and L3 Harris Technologies are expected in attendance.

READ MORE: ‘EU-supplied’ S-300 launchers obliterated – Russia

Kiev has reached out to US allies far and wide – from its NATO neighbors all the way to South Korea – asking for airplanes, tanks and artillery in particular. On Saturday, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said that Berlin could not afford to send any more weapons without depleting its own stocks too much. By Monday, however, the Rheinmetall conglomerate said it could refurbish some of the obsolete Leopard 1 tanks and send them east.

Last week, Slovakia announced it would send its only battery of S-300 air defense systems to Ukraine, and get US-made “Patriots” to replace them. On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the battery had been obliterated in a cruise missile strike against a hangar in Dnepropetrovsk, a city Ukrainians call Dnipro, the day before.

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