The United States has delivered hundreds of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine for the first time over the past few days, including more than 200 on Monday, according to a US official and a congressional source familiar with the matter.
Earlier this year, the US gave the green light to Baltic states including Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to send US-made weapons to Ukraine, including the Stingers. But so far, the Biden administration has stopped the United States from providing the Stingers directly to Ukraine, while it has provided other deadly weapons.
Some members of Congress have been pushing for additional Stingers to be sent to Ukraine for months. The Ukrainians have repeatedly appealed for more weapons from the United States, including anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons.
US Secretary of State Tony Blinken told reporters on Wednesday that at this time Ukraine can still receive the “vital defensive military equipment” it needs.
More background: There are different generations of US-produced Stingers and US officials are aware not to provide the latest model to the Ukrainians in case they fall into the hands of Russians who can steal American technology.
Germany announced earlier this week that it will deliver 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine, marking a change in its previous position of not sending weapons to Ukraine amid this crisis.
NBC News was first to report On the extradition of the American Stingers to Ukraine.