Defense News
April 19, 2022

Biden vows to send Ukraine more artillery as Congress pushes for military aid czar

President Joe Biden on Tuesday promised more artillery to Kyiv amid a push among some key lawmakers for a czar to oversee the increasing flow of U.S. military aid to Ukraine.

…White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted the president discussed procuring more ammunition and security assistance for Kyiv during a Tuesday video call with the leaders of several U.S. allies, including Poland, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan.

Additionally, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Tuesday the U.S. would “very soon” be training a small number of Ukrainian troops on American heavy artillery that was part of a package approved last week. Kirby said Ukraine’s forces, which also get supplies from European allies, “have received additional aircraft and the aircraft parts to help them get more more aircraft in the air.”

Now, a bipartisan group of four high-profile senators is calling on the president to appoint a Ukraine Security Assistance Coordinator to oversee the disparate streams of military equipment Washington continues to transfer.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, last week wrote a letter to Biden calling for a coordinator to “synchronize our whole of government approach to arming Ukraine.” The Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, signed on, as did Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., respectively the No. 2 Republican and Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.

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[The letter] noted the coordinator also “would be able to serve as a liaison to our domestic industry partners that are being called on to not only ensure the steady flow of defense articles to Ukraine but also to replenish United States and allied stockpiles.”

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According to the Pentagon, the proposal would cut red tape that prevents it from providing more advanced systems, “including air defense, armaments for naval vessels, coastal defense, and counter-unmanned aerial systems.”

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