US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced an additional $ 800 million in military assistance to Ukraine, expanding the scope of the systems provided to include heavy artillery ahead of a broader Russian attack expected in eastern Ukraine.
The package, which brings the total amount of military aid since Russian troops invaded more than $ 2.5 billion in February, includes artillery systems, artillery rounds, armored personnel carriers and unmanned coastal defense boats, Biden said in a statement following a phone call with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Biden said he had also approved the transfer of additional helicopters, saying equipment supplied to Ukraine had been “critical” because it was facing the invasion. “We can not rest now. If I assure President Zelenskyy, the American people will continue to stand with the brave Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom,” Biden said in a written statement.
The new package includes 11 Mi-17 helicopters that were destined for Afghanistan before the US-backed government crash last year.
It also includes 18,155 mm firearms, along with 40,000 artillery rounds, counter-artillery radars, 200 armored personnel carriers and 300 additional “Switchblade” drones. This was the first time the United States supplied haubits to Ukraine.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said some of the systems, such as the whistleblowers and radars, would require additional training for Ukrainian troops unaccustomed to using U.S. military equipment. “We’re aware of the clock and we know time is not our friend,” Kirby said when asked about the speed of deliveries.
‘BIGGER, POWERFUL WEAPONS’
The new aid – first reported by Reuters on Tuesday – will be funded by Presidential Drawdown Authority, or PDA, in which the president can authorize the transfer of articles and services of U.S. shares without congressional approval in response to an emergency.
John Spencer, a retired U.S. Army major and expert on urban warfare at the Madison Policy Forum, said he was excited to see the United States launch artillery and artillery rounds.
“You need these bigger, more powerful weapons … to agree with what Russia is bringing to try to take eastern Ukraine,” Spencer said.
When news of the latest security assistance came out, executives from top U.S. arms manufacturers met with Pentagon officials to discuss the industrial challenges in the event of a protracted Ukraine conflict.
These included directors of BAE Systems Plc, General Dynamics Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Huntington Ingalls Industries, L3 Harris Technologies, Boeing Co., Raytheon Technologies Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. .
Thousands were killed and millions displaced during the seven-week invasion.
Russia has not achieved most of its military goals, as Ukrainians have faced fiercer resistance than expected.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” to destroy Ukraine’s military capabilities and capture what it sees as dangerous nationalists, but Ukraine and the West say Russia has started an unprovoked war of aggression.
On Wednesday, Russia said it had taken control of the southeastern Ukrainian port of Mariupol and that more than 1,000 Ukrainian marines had surrendered.
US gives Ukraine $ 800 million more in military aid, adds heavy weapons – SABC News
Source link US gives Ukraine $ 800 million more in military aid, adds heavy weapons – SABC News