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Biden to approve $100M weapons package for Ukraine, officials say

Click to play video: 'Battle continues at Mariupol steel plant' Battle continues at Mariupol steel plant
WATCH: Battle continues at Mariupol steel plant – May 5, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to sign a new weapons package worth at least $100 million for Ukraine as soon as later on Friday, four U.S. officials told Reuters, the latest in a series of transfers to help Kyiv repel Russia’s invasion.

The United States has rushed $3.4 billion worth of armaments to Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, including howitzers, anti-aircraft Stinger systems, anti-tank Javelin missiles, ammunition and recently-disclosed “Ghost” drones.

Read more: Amnesty says it has evidence Russia committed war crimes in Ukraine

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the latest package would likely include more munitions for systems such as the howitzers. The Pentagon says it has already sent about 184,000 artillery rounds.

The announcement could come as early as within the next 24 hours, two of the officials said.

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Click to play video: 'Dozens more escape Mariupol steel plant under Russian assault' Dozens more escape Mariupol steel plant under Russian assault
Dozens more escape Mariupol steel plant under Russian assault – May 6, 2022

The new tranche of weapons transfers would come from the remaining $250 million in the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the president to authorize the transfer of excess weapons from U.S. stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency.

Last month Biden proposed a $33 billion assistance package for Ukraine, including more than $20 billion in military aid.

Click to play video: 'More people escape Mariupol as Ukraine presses for more aid' More people escape Mariupol as Ukraine presses for more aid
More people escape Mariupol as Ukraine presses for more aid – May 5, 2022

The United States has been training some Ukrainian forces on how to use systems like the howitzers, outside Ukraine.

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Group of Seven (G7) leaders including Biden will hold a video call on Sunday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a show of unity the day before Russia marks its Victory Day holiday, the White House said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin casts the war in Ukraine as a battle to protect Russian speakers there from persecution by Nazis and to guard against what he calls the U.S. threat to Russia posed by NATO enlargement. Ukraine and the West say Putin is waging an unprovoked war of aggression.

Ukraine and its allies say that after failing to seize the capital, Kyiv, Russian forces have made slow progress in their goal of capturing the country’s east and south but bombardments have affected more and more civilians.

Russia denies the allegations and says it targets only military or strategic sites, not civilians.

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