WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – The United States will send Ukraine an additional $725m package of weapons and other military assistance, the White House has said, as Washington added to a flurry of aid announcements from European allies this week.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the aid in a statement on Friday.
Washington’s newest military package includes more ammunition for HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems) and brings the total U.S. military assistance to Ukraine to $18.3bn since the start of Joe Biden’s administration, the Department of Defence said in a separate statement.
The U.S. has sent 20 HIMARS to Ukraine and has promised 18 more that would be delivered in the coming years.
Officials said the new U.S. package is largely aimed at restocking thousands of rounds of ammunition for the weapons systems Ukraine has been using in its counteroffensive against Russia, as the war stretches into its eighth month.
As Washington deepens its involvement in the Ukraine conflict, it said it can slap sanctions on individuals, countries and companies that provide ammunition to Russia or support what it calls the Russian military-industrial complex.
U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo on Friday held a meeting with officials from 32 countries, which included representatives from EU countries, Canada and South Korea, and the United States to discuss sanctions on Russia, Reuters reported.
Officials discussed additional steps planned to target Russia’s military-industrial complex and the effects of numerous rounds of sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its partners over Russia’s conflict with Ukraine.
The U.S. also warned that Washington is prepared to impose sanctions on those providing ammunition or other military goods to Russia as well as private military companies or paramilitary groups that participate in or support Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday $400 million in aid for Kiev, Saudi state news agency SPA said on Saturday.
It added Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made a phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday.
The crown prince expressed the kingdom’s readiness to continue efforts of mediation and support everything that contributes to de-escalation, SPA added.
This is the second phone call between the leaders of the two countries in the past month.
So far, many countries have announced their readiness to mediate between Ukraine and Russia to end the war, but the efforts that have so far gone nowhere.
Russia launched its “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, with the idea to “demilitarize and de-Nazify” the country, which has long pursued membership in the NATO alliance.
Since the start of the conflict, Ukraine has enjoyed increasing arms deliveries from across the Western world.
Commenting on Western arms deliveries to Ukraine, Moscow has described them as “pouring oil on the fire”.
Officials have also warned that NATO is “in essence at war” with Moscow, adding that the shipments to Kiev would be a “legitimate target” for Russian forces.