The Biden administration has sent military aid packages worth up to $1.2 billion to Ukraine, [Ukraine’s] The Department of Defense announced on Tuesday.
The latest package “underlines the continued US commitment to meeting Ukraine’s most urgent requirements by committing critical capabilities such as air defense systems and munitions, while at the same time defending Ukrainian territory and ensuring long-term security.” Building the capabilities of the Ukrainian military to deter Russian aggression across the board, Pentagon spokesman, Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder said at a press conference.
Equipment is purchased new from defense contractors under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), an authority that allows the United States to procure capabilities from industry or partners. USAI is a foundation established in 2015 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
“USAI gives us the ability to leverage the power and capabilities of the private sector to support Ukraine’s medium- to long-term security assistance needs,” Ryder said.
Latest factsheet (pdf). Of that, over $36.9 billion has been remitted to Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion in February 2022.
155 mm shells, air defense system
The Department of Defense noted that some of the packages committed additional 155 mm ammunition. This is he one of the most requested artillery shells in Ukraine’s war against Russia.
The US had shipped more than 1.5 million rounds to Ukraine, but as of late April, Kiev was still asking for more.
Used in howitzer systems, this round allows Ukrainian soldiers to hit Russian targets up to 15 to 20 miles (24 to 32 kilometers) away, depending on the round and launch system used. . Howitzers are large guns that can be towed. Rounds can also be configured to be very explosive, among other flexibility.
Also, the new security assistance package has additional air defense systems and ammunition. Equipment for integrating Western air defense launchers, missiles and radars with Ukrainian air defense systems. Ammunition for anti-unmanned aerial systems.
The latest aid comes as Ukraine prepares to launch a spring offensive against Russian forces, and air defense is a perennial problem.
Also, in a recent US leak that made headlines on April 6th, a document emerged showing that Ukraine’s S-300 air defense system is expected to run out of ammunition in early May.
Faced with economic sanctions and supply chain restrictions over its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has regularly turned to Iran’s Shahed drones to bolster its firepower. The US aid package includes systems to shoot down and otherwise defeat drones.
Ukrainian air defenses have shot down 35 Iranian-made drones over Kiev in Russia’s latest nighttime strike, officials said Monday. Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a Telegram post that debris from the drone hit a two-story apartment building in the Svyatoshinsky district of western Kiev, while other debris hit a car parked nearby. and ignited.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said Russia had shelled 127 targets in northern, southern and eastern Ukraine, killing three civilians.
In addition to 1.5 million rounds of ammunition and air defense systems, the US will also provide Ukraine with commercial satellite imaging services and “support for training, maintenance and maintenance activities” as part of the latest package.
Congress, White House advocate aid to Ukraine
The military aid comes as Congress and the White House discuss how to avoid the first-ever U.S. debt default. The U.S. national debt exceeds her $31 trillion and the country could face default unless Congress approves raising the debt ceiling by June 1.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers, including top Republicans such as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Republican Top Mitch McConnell, have advocated continued support and aid to Ukraine.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned of an “economic catastrophe” for Americans if the debt ceiling is not raised and has called for continued aid to Ukraine.
In February, Yellen made a surprise visit to Kiev to reaffirm US aid to Ukraine. “America will support Ukraine wherever possible,” she said at the time.
More recently, in April, President Yellen called for continued aid, adding that the United States plans to provide all additional aid at no cost until September to support Ukraine’s energy security and early recovery efforts. but did not disclose details.
Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.