WASHINGTON — The US announced on Friday it will provide $820 million in new military aid to Ukraine, including new surface-to-air missile systems and counter-artillery radars, in response to Russia’s heavy reliance on long-range strikes in the war.
Russia has fired dozens of missiles over Ukraine in recent days, pinning down Ukrainian forces with continuous fire, sometimes for hours. Ukraine’s leaders have publicly called on Western allies to quickly send more ammunition and advanced systems that will help them fill the gap in equipment and manpower.
All told, the US has provided more than $8.8 billion in arms and military training to Ukraine, whose leaders have sought more help from Western allies to fend off larger and heavily equipped Russian forces. About $7 billion of that aid has been announced since the Russian invasion in February.
“We will support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” President Joe Biden said at a news conference during the NATO summit in Madrid this week. He argued that Russia had already suffered a blow to its international reputation and major damage to its economy from Western sanctions imposed over the invasion.
The US is giving Ukrainians “the capacity” to “continue to resist Russian aggression,” Biden said. “And so I don’t know how it will end, but it will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine.”
Much of the aid officially announced on Friday will take weeks or months to reach Ukraine.
As part of the new package, the US will buy two systems known as NASAMS, a Norwegian-developed anti-aircraft system that will be used to protect the airspace around the White House and Capitol in Washington. A senior defense official told reporters NASAMS is designed to help Ukraine transition from using Soviet-era air defense systems, which not only are familiar to Russians but also require repairs with hard-to-find spare parts. Officials briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss military assessments.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his gratitude.
“I am personally especially grateful today to the United States and Biden for the Ukraine support package announced today, which includes a very capable NASAMS – an anti-aircraft missile system that will significantly strengthen our air defenses. We’ve been working hard for these supplies,” Zelenskyy said late Friday in his late-night video address.
The Pentagon will also provide the Ukrainians with up to 150,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition. Given the heavy use of artillery on both sides, it’s unclear how long these new rounds would last. The official declined to say how many shots Ukraine and Russia fire daily.
And the Pentagon will also buy four counter-artillery radars for Ukraine. These new acquisitions, funded by the Pentagon’s Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, require at least weeks for defense contractors to build. Ukrainians are also being trained in how to use the newly provided systems.
The Pentagon will also provide additional munitions for medium-range missile systems it made available to Ukraine in June, known as High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS. The ammunition should come from the Ministry of Defense’s own stock under the so-called Drawdown Authority and be made available to Ukraine more quickly.
This is the 14th batch of military arms and equipment transferred to Ukraine from Defense Ministry stocks since August 2021.
The war has spiraled into a grueling stalemate in which both sides rely heavily on artillery, Western officials and analysts have said. Though Russia failed to achieve its original goals of overthrowing the Ukrainian government, it is believed to be making slow progress in consolidating control of the eastern Ukrainian region known as Donbass.
https://nypost.com/2022/07/02/us-announces-820m-in-ukraine-aid-including-missile-systems/ US announces $820 million in aid to Ukraine, including missile systems