US includes 50 Bradleys in new $2.8 billion weapons package to Ukraine

The latest security package for Ukraine is expected to be unveiled on Friday, US officials said.

US servicemen walk past a Bradley infantry fighting vehicle as they arrive for the joint U.S.-Georgian exercise Noble Partner 2016 in Vaziani, Georgia, May 5, 2016 (photo credit: REUTERS/DAVID MDZINARISHVILI)
US servicemen walk past a Bradley infantry fighting vehicle as they arrive for the joint U.S.-Georgian exercise Noble Partner 2016 in Vaziani, Georgia, May 5, 2016
(photo credit: REUTERS/DAVID MDZINARISHVILI)

A new US weapons package for Ukraine will include about 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, two US officials said on Thursday, with one of the officials saying the package will be worth roughly $2.8 billion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said a US commitment to supply Kyiv with Bradley Fighting Vehicles for the first time is exactly what Ukraine needs.

In the same address, the Ukrainian President said this commitment showed that that his visit to Washington last month had produced concrete results.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden said that sending the Bradleys, a US Army staple, to Ukraine was being considered to help fight Russia's invasion. Russia's ambassador accused the United States of plotting a "dangerous course."

The latest security package for Ukraine is expected to be unveiled on Friday, the officials said.

What else is in the new package to Kyiv?

Of the roughly $2.8 billion package, around $800 million of the funds came from Foreign Military Financing to help Ukraine procure weapons, one official said. The balance of the funds came from Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) for Ukraine, which allows the United States to transfer defense articles like Humvees, trucks and munitions from stocks quickly without congressional approval in response to an emergency.

The armored vehicle with a powerful gun, which is manufactured by BAE Systems, has been used as a staple by the US Army to carry troops around battlefields since the mid-1980s.

 A Ukrainian serviceman gestures from a Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV), as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, near the town of Izium, recently liberated by Ukrainian Armed Forces, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine September 19, 2022 (credit: GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS) A Ukrainian serviceman gestures from a Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV), as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, near the town of Izium, recently liberated by Ukrainian Armed Forces, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine September 19, 2022 (credit: GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS)

The Army has thousands of Bradleys, which could give the Ukrainians more firepower on the battlefield. Biden's move, however, is short of sending Abrams tanks to Ukraine, which the Ukrainians have been requesting.

New package comes following Zelensky's address to US Congress

Late last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the US Congress that the tens of billions of dollars of aid it had approved to help Ukraine combat the Russian invasion was not charity, but an investment in global security.

The United States has sent about $21.3 billion in security assistance to Kyiv as Europe's biggest land conflict since 1945 grinds on, killing tens of thousands.

The size of Friday's security aid package was not immediately clear. The White House declined to comment.

Russia's ambassador in Washington said the Bradleys "decision" showed Moscow's US interlocutors "have not even tried to listen to our numerous calls to take into account possible consequences of such a dangerous course by Washington."

Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, in comments published in Russian and English on the Facebook page of the Russian embassy, said there could be no more talk of weapons transfers being of a defensive nature.

The administration's actions, he said in remarks framed as responses to media questions, "indicate a lack of any desire for a political settlement."

The United States has increasingly sent more capable weapons to Ukraine. As the war progressed and Ukraine's needs changed, more complex weapons systems, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), were shipped to Kyiv.

Most recently, the United States pledged to send a Patriot missile system to repel Russian missile and drone attacks. Training and other logistics still need to be worked out.

The army is working to retire its Bradley fleet and is working with industry to build a replacement as it seeks to modernize.