WASHINGTON ― The U.S. unveiled nearly $3 billion in new aid for Ukraine and 18 of its neighbors on Thursday

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with allies in Germany and Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unscheduled visit to Kyiv

Alongside a $675 million package of heavy weaponry, ammunition and armored vehicles for Ukraine

 the administration notified Congress of its intent to make $2.2 billion in new Foreign Military Financing available. 

The prospect of financing options for U.S. weaponry ups the ante in a long-standing sales push

Washington to be first in line when former Warsaw Pact countries flush the last stockpiles of Soviet gear out of their arsenals.

Recent donations by those countries to Ukraine have made the need to backfill their inventories all the more urgent.

It also sets up a competition, at least implicitly, with arms makers in Europe, who are vying for the business, 

At the start of a Thursday meeting with senior officials from allied countries at the United States’ Ramstein Air Base in Germany,

Austin said the countries working together should be able to “streamline processes,”