US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced during a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart at the Pentagon that the US is about to unveil a new security assistance package worth more than $2.3 billion to Ukraine.

Acknowledging Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO at an upcoming summit in Washington, D.C., Austin said, without providing further details, “we will take steps to build a bridge for Ukraine to NATO membership.” .

“I am proud that the United States will soon announce more than $2.3 billion in new security assistance to Ukraine,” Austin said, speaking before entering a meeting with Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustam Umarov.

“The package, under presidential drawdown authority, would provide additional air defense interceptors, anti-tank weapons and other critical munitions from US inventories,” Austin was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Ukrainian officials have continued to call on their allies to provide additional air defense systems to counter missile and drone attacks launched by Russian forces. The latest weapons package for Ukraine is expected to include accelerated procurement of anti-tank weapons, air defense interceptors, and NASAMS and Patriot air defense interceptors.

Since 2022, the United States has provided more than $50 billion in military aid to Ukraine. However, concerns have been raised about the future of US support for Kiev if Donald Trump wins the presidential election.

Two of Trump’s top advisers have offered him a plan to end Russia’s war in Ukraine if he’s elected, including telling Ukraine that it will get more U.S. troops if it enters peace talks with Moscow. Weapons will be found. The proposal would represent a significant shift in the US position on the war and is likely to face opposition from European allies and within Trump’s own Republican Party.

During the meeting in Austin, Umarov expressed Ukraine’s desire to become a member of NATO, saying, “I hope that Ukraine will receive its invitation soon.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi, who lobbied unsuccessfully for a political invitation to join the alliance at its summit in Vilnius last summer, has said that an invitation to Kiev to join this year’s summit is unlikely. The issue should be resolved.

While NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and Washington have both said they do not expect the alliance’s 32 members to invite Ukraine to join if it is at war with Russia during the July 9-11 summit. Lives in, Stoltenberg hopes that the summit will show Kiev. That it is approaching membership.

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