Biden OKs $200M in Ukraine Military Aid, Russia Warns It Can Hit Shipments

President Joe Biden on Saturday approved $200 million in military aid to help in Ukraine's defense against Russia's invasion despite the latter warning of possibly attacking arms shipments.

According to memorandum by the White House, the funds are meant to be used for military education and training in order to "provide assistance to Ukraine and to make the determinations required." The memo didn't break down how the funds will be allocated; however, Reuters reported that the financial assistance would go into additional small arms and anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine.

The U.S. defense assistance comes after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Saturday warned Western countries that shipments of weapons to Ukraine are considered "legitimate targets" and could be hit by Russian forces.

"Russia has warned the United States about the consequences of the transfer of weapons to Ukraine," he said, according to Russian newswire RIA Novosti. "Convoys of foreign weapons, which are thoughtlessly supplied to Ukraine, will be legitimate targets for the Russian Armed Forces."

There is also the risk that those weapons could end up falling into Russian hands. On Friday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu suggested that seized weapons could be given to Donetsk and Luhansk—breakaway regions in Ukraine—which Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed with.

"As to the delivery of arms, especially Western-made ones, which have fallen into the hands of the Russian army—of course I support the possibility of giving these to the military units of the Luhansk and Donetsk people's republics," Putin said.

The U.S. and NATO allies have already sent thousands of weapons to Ukraine with more shipments underway. Ukraine had received 17,000 anti-tank missiles and 2,000 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, CNN reported on March 7, citing a senior official.

In addition, the U.S. Senate approved $13.6 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine on Thursday as part of a $1.5 trillion funding package. A total of 31 Republicans have voted against sending aid to the Eastern European country.

As the war in Ukraine enters its third week, Russian forces continue to launch attacks across the country while edging closer to Kyiv. In response, more than 1 million Ukrainian citizens left the country for their own safety and headed for bordering nations such as Poland. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) predicts that around 4 million people could flee the country if Russia continues its attack.

Newsweek contacted the White House for further comments and will update the story once a response is received.

Biden OKs $200M in Ukraine Military Aid
President Joe Biden on Saturday approved $200 million in military aid to help Ukraine fight the Russian invasion. Above, a serviceman of the Ukrainian Military Forces in the Lugansk region on March 11. Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images