US Announces Financial Package For Ukraine To Boost Defense System
Washington: The United States on Tuesday announced a new $1.2 billion security assistance package for Ukraine to boost the country’s air defences and provide it with additional artillery ammunition.
Ukraine is readying for a highly anticipated spring offensive against invading Russian troops, but the latest assistance will not immediately arrive on the battlefield as it must still be procured from the defence industry or partners.
This avoids depleting US stocks but means the assistance will take longer to reach Kyiv than equipment drawn directly from existing American military inventories.
The package underscores the continued US commitment to Ukraine “by committing critical near-term capabilities, such as air defence systems and munitions, while also building the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
It features unspecified air defence systems and munitions as well as equipment to integrate Western systems with Ukraine’s existing gear, which is mainly of Soviet vintage.
Ukraine’s air defences have played a key role in countering Russia’s invasion, preventing Moscow’s forces from gaining control of the skies and helping shield the country against missile and drone attacks.
Secret US documents from late February that were allegedly leaked online by a junior member of the Air National Guard detailed looming munitions shortages for Soviet systems that make up a significant chunk of Ukrainian medium and high-range protection.
Kyiv’s international supporters have worked to bolster its existing defences with a mix of cutting-edge systems such as Patriot and NASAMS, as well as older equipment.
The package also includes ammunition for counter-drone systems meant to counter the threat of Iranian-made uncrewed aircraft that Russia has used for strikes in Ukraine, as well as 155 mm rounds — a key type of artillery ammunition for Ukraine’s forces.
It will also provide commercial satellite imagery services as well as support for training and maintenance.
The latest assistance brings total US military aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country in February 2022 to more than $36 billion.
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