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The Biden administration is reportedly preparing another $800 million to send to Ukraine as part of a security and military aid package that could be announced as early as Friday amid fears of a possible attack on a nuclear facility in the country.
President Joe Biden could authorize the funds through presidential drawdown authority, the president’s ability to redistribute defense articles from the Defense Department to foreign countries during a crisis, which Biden has previously used to help Ukraine, Reuters reported.
According to Reuters, citing “three sources familiar with the matter”, the total amount of the aid package could change before it is finalized.
Ukraine says explosions rock ammo depot in Russian-occupied Crimea ‘militarization in progress’
French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that Ukraine is conducting nuclear defense exercises “to be ready for all scenarios” as the country fears a possible Russian attack on Europe’s largest nuclear plant, Zaporizhia.
Russian news outlet RT reported that Russia was also preparing for the attack, saying Ukrainian forces could fire on the nuclear plant and blame them for the destruction.
Ukraine intends to withdraw its warning to Russia
Biden has used presidential drawdown authority at least 18 times to help Ukraine — more than $7.2 billion in defense equipment and services — through August 2021 to help shore up Ukraine’s defenses against Russian aggression.
“Through this process, the United States is providing Ukraine with vital military assistance to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked and brutal aggression, which amounts to internationally condemned war crimes,” the State Department said in a press release last month.
The State Department has previously said the aid does not require congressional approval and could be sent within days or hours after Biden OKs the move.
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The substantial figure comes as Congress has steadily raised the drawdown limit from $100 million to $11 billion in recent years.