US President Joe Biden approved a $100 million transfer of Javelin anti-armor missiles to Ukraine on Tuesday, according to an administration official.
The transfer brings the total of U.S. military assistance for Ukraine to $2.4 billion since Biden took office last January.
The White House announced late Tuesday that Biden approved the assistance, which is funded as part of a broader $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine approved by Congress last month after Russia’s invasion.
The administration official confirmed that it was for a transfer of the Javelin missiles, which have been requested by the Ukrainian military to combat Russian armor.
The official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter.
This is the sixth batch of US equipment aid released to Ukraine since August.
The latest promise means that $1.7bn in military hardware has been pledged for Ukraine by the US alone since the Russian assault began on 24 February, according to the US State Department.
US Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that the newly-authorised money will "meet an urgent Ukrainian need for additional Javelin anti-armor systems, which the United States has been providing to Ukraine and they have been using so effectively to defend their country".
The Javelin antitank missiles are now wreaking havoc on the Russian invaders.
The lightweight but lethal weapon has, military experts said, helped the underdog Ukrainians inflict major damage on Moscow’s much-vaunted military and stymie their advance.
Not only has the United States-made weapon become a symbol of resistance, it’s been dubbed “Saint Javelin” in a meme circulating on the web created by Canadian marketer Christian Borys, which shows Mary Magdalene, a saint of the Orthodox church, cradling a Javelin in her arms.
The Ukrainians have submitted similar lists in recent weeks but a recent request provided to US lawmakers appears to reflect a growing need for American-made Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and Javelin anti-tank missiles -- with Ukraine saying it urgently needs 500 of each, daily.
The new list comes as the Ukrainians have claimed they face potential weapons shortages amid an ongoing Russian assault -- prompting some pushback from US and NATO officials who stress that more military aid is already going into the country.
By March 7, less than two weeks into Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the US and other NATO members had sent about 17,000 anti-tank missiles and 2,000 anti-aircraft missiles into Ukraine.
Since then, NATO countries, including the US, have kept the pipeline of weapons and equipment flowing, even as Russia has threatened to target the shipments.
The last of a US $350 million security assistance packaged approved in late February arrived in Ukraine within the last few days, a senior defense official said, while the next two packages totaling $1 billion have already started to arrive.