Amid growing tensions as Kiev prepares an attack on Crimea and is said to be struggling to hold Bakhmut, the United States is deploying high-mobility rocket systems, mortars and mortars to help defend against Russian aggression. artillery and anti-vehicle rounds, the Pentagon announced on March 3.
“Following the delegation of authority from the President, [Joe] Biden, I authorize the 33rd cut in U.S. arms and equipment to Ukraine, worth $400 million, since August 2021,” Secretary of State Antony Brinken said in a statement. “This military assistance package includes more ammunition for the US-provided HIMARS and howitzers, which Ukraine uses very effectively for self-defense.”
HIMARS are mobile rocket launchers worth about $4 million each, with individual rockets costing about $168,000. The Biden administration has donated 20 of these vehicles, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, to the Ukrainian military since the war began.
Biden sent 143 Howitzer— artillery reminiscent of World War II — to Ukraine at a cost of about $5 million per unit.
Equipment for demolition ammunition and clearing obstacles, testing and diagnostic equipment to support vehicle maintenance and repair, spare parts, and other field equipment to help Ukrainians maintain their troops in combat are also packaged. Included in
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“The United States continues to rally the world in support of Ukraine,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said on Friday.
The international community is broadly supportive of Ukraine, but there are signs of fatigue. Her two countries, Mali and Nicaragua, voted against a UN resolution blaming Russia last month, even though they did not vote against it in March 2022.
As the war progresses, the United States changes the types of aid it provides, offering weapons that were off-limits at the start of the war. Some European countries have pledged to help by providing tanks, armored vehicles, artillery systems and ammunition.
Critics say the aid package is ill-timed and shows the Biden administration’s cautious stance on war.
“The latest weapons package comes at a time when U.S. and Ukrainian officials are openly discussing an attack on Crimea, prompting the U.S. to launch a major counteroffensive against Ukraine,” said Putin. “It’s a clear red line for NATO.” Yes, it will be a catastrophic scenario for the whole world.”
The latest package comes ahead of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s pledge to recapture Russian-occupied Crimea, the southern peninsula of Ukraine that Russia annexed in 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in September that he would respond with a nuclear strike “to any threat to Russia’s territorial integrity”. State Department officials and Norwegian allies have expressed concern over Crimea being targeted by Kiev, fearing Putin could deploy a tactical nuclear weapon.
The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, echoed these concerns in an interview with the Financial Times last month, saying the war must finally end at the negotiating table.
“In this particular case, we are against a great power, a nuclear-armed state, so we have to be very conscious about managing escalation.”