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Monday, December 09, 2019

Ukraine troops operate howitzer

By Idrees Ali, Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden is expected to sign a new weapons package worth at least $100 million for Ukraine as soon as later on Friday or this weekend, four U.S. officials told Reuters.

The United States has rushed $3.4 billion worth of weapons to Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, including howitzers, anti-aircraft Stinger systems, anti-tank Javelin missiles, ammunition and body armor.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the latest package would likely include more munitions for systems such as the howitzers. The Pentagon says it has already sent about 184,000 artillery rounds.

The announcement could come as early as within the next 24 hours, two of the officials said.

The new tranche of weapons transfers would come from the remaining $250 million in the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the president to authorize the transfer of excess weapons from U.S. stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency.

Last month Biden proposed a $33 billion assistance package for Ukraine, including more than $20 billion in military aid.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali, Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone; additional reporting by Steve Holland and Humeyra Pamuk; editing by Diane Craft and Daniel Wallis)

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