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The Biden administration has reportedly readied 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 concern of a possible attack on a nuclear facility in the country.
President Joe Biden could authorize the funds through the Presidential Drawdown Authority, an ability of the president to reallocate defense articles from the Department of Defense to foreign countries in times of crisis, which Biden has previously used to assist Ukraine, Reuters reported.
The total for the aid package could change before it is finalized, according to Reuters, citing “three sources familiar with the matter.”
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Agence France-Presse (AFP), a French news outlet, reported Ukraine is conducting nuclear defense drills “to prepare for all scenarios” as the country is concerned Russia could stage an attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest nuclear plant.
Russian news outlet RT has reported Russia is also preparing for an attack, claiming Ukrainian forces could fire upon the nuclear plant and blame them for the destruction.
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Biden has used the Presidential Drawdown Authority at least 18 times to assist Ukraine — totaling more than $7.2 billion in defense equipment and services — since August 2021, to help bolster Ukraine’s defenses against Russia’s invasion.
“Through this process, the United States is providing Ukraine 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 assistance does not need congressional approval and can be sent within days or hours after Biden OKs the action, the State Department has previously said.
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The sizable figure comes as Congress has steadily increased the cap for the drawdown, from $100 million to $11 billion in recent years.