The US has delivered hundreds of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine for the first time over the last few days, including over 200 on Monday, according to a US official and a congressional source briefed on the matter.
Earlier this year the US gave the green light to Baltic countries including Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to send American-made weaponry that they have to Ukraine, including Stingers. But until now the Biden administration had held off on the US providing the Stingers directly to Ukraine, while they have provided other lethal weaponry.
Some members of Congress have been pushing for additional Stinger missiles to be sent to Ukraine for months. The Ukrainians have repeatedly made pleas more weaponry from the US, including anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons.
US Secretary of State Tony Blinken told reporters on Wednesday that at this time Ukraine is still able to receive “vital defensive military equipment” that it needs.
More background: There are different generations of Stingers that the US produces and US officials have been cognizant of not providing the newest model to the Ukrainians in case they fall into the hands of the Russians who could steal the US technology.
Earlier this week German announced that they would deliver 1,000 antitank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine, marking a change in its previous stance of not sending weaponry to Ukraine amid this crisis.
NBC News was first to report on the delivery of US Stingers to Ukraine.
US delivered hundreds of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine this week, sources say