News ID: 113701
Publish Date : 05 April 2023 - 22:08

U.S. to Boost Ukraine’s Air Defenses With $2.6bn Weapons Package

WASHINGTON (Dispatches) - The Biden administration has pledged to commit an additional $2.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine, saying it will provide air defense systems that include gun trucks and laser-guided weapons to counter Russia’s relentless use of drones.
The package includes about $500 million in equipment from U.S. military stocks for immediate or near-term transfer, plus $2.1 billion in arms that the administration will order using a congressionally approved fund known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, U.S. officials said. Delivery of those data-x-items is probably months away.
In all, the administration has now pledged more than $35 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded nearly 14 months ago. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the commitment of air defenses “will allow Ukraine to continue to bravely defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war.” Until Moscow ends its invasion, he added, “the United States and our allies and partners will stand united with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
Public support for the administration’s efforts has waned among some Republicans, although a majority in Congress continues to back the robust aid program, with members of both parties saying the United States and its allies need to do even more.
Tuesday’s announcement comes as fighting remains intense in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, where Pentagon officials assess that the conflict has reached a bloody stalemate, and as both sides prepare to go on offense with the spring thaw.
Most of the weapons being pulled from U.S. stocks are familiar to the Ukrainians. They include munitions for the Patriot air defense missile system that the administration pledged to Ukraine late last year. Ukrainian troops recently completed training on the advanced system at an Army post in Oklahoma.
The package contains 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds, 120mm mortar rounds, and 120mm and 105mm tank ammunition, the Pentagon said. It also includes anti-armor weapons known as TOW missiles, 400 grenade launchers and 200,000 rounds of ammunition for them. The Pentagon also is sending 11 more tactical vehicles to enable the recovery of heavy equipment and 61 refueling trucks, defense officials said.
“We will continue to procure these capabilities for the Ukrainians because we recognize that they still do have a lot of Soviet-type equipment, and if we can keep it in the fight, we can enable their effectiveness,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the Pentagon.