US to send $3.75 billion in military aid to Ukraine and its neighbors

WASHINGTON—The White House said Friday that the United States will send $3.75 billion in military weapons and other aid to Ukraine and its NATO eastern neighbor as Russia’s aggression in Ukraine escalates.

The latest support includes, for the first time, Bradley armored vehicles for Ukraine. Armored vehicles are used to transport troops for battle and are known as “tank killers” because they can fire anti-tank missiles.

The U.S.’s largest Kyiv aid package to date includes a $2.85 billion withdrawal from Pentagon stocks remitted directly to Ukraine, as well as a long-term capacity building to help modernize the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The white paper said it included $225 million in foreign military funding for House. It also includes $682 million in foreign military funding to help reclaim military equipment donations made to Ukraine by European allies.

“The war is at stake and we must do everything we can to help Ukrainians resist Russian aggression,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Direct aid to Ukraine includes 50 Bradley, 500 anti-tank missiles and 250,000 ammunition for aircraft carriers. The United States also ordered 100 of her M113 armored personnel carriers, 55 Mine Resistant Ambush Vehicles (MRAPS), and 138 Humvees, as well as ammunition for high mobility artillery rocket systems and air defense systems and other weapons, and Thousands of cannons are being sent. According to the Pentagon.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Bradley would be particularly useful to Ukraine in the ongoing heavy fighting in much of eastern Ukraine’s rural areas.

“It’s very much tied to the war we’re seeing on the ground right now and what we expect to see all winter long,” Kirby said.

Critics have complained that the US has delivered key weapons such as the Bradley and tanks such as the Abrams too late, saying they may have been useful in last year’s battles.

At the Pentagon, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Russia and Ukraine Laura Cooper said now was the right time to provide Bradley. “It shows that we are doing it,” she said.

She said a U.S.-led training set starting later this month will enable the military to operate, maintain and repair weapons, such as the Pentagon’s more complex, gas-hungry, heavily armored M1 Abrams tank. I added that more maintenance would be required to provide a . and other training.

The new US package was detailed by the White House and the Pentagon when Germany announced it would supply about 40 Marder armored personnel carriers to Ukraine in the first quarter of this year.

Germany announced its intention to send the Murder APC after a telephone call between Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Joe Biden on Thursday.

“These 40 vehicles should already be ready in the first quarter to be handed over to Ukraine,” Scholz spokesman Steffen Hevestrei told reporters in Berlin. ‘ said. Germany plans to train Ukrainian forces to use the vehicle, and Hebestreit said experts expect the process to take about eight weeks.

Germany has already provided significant military assistance, including howitzers, the Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, and the IRIS-T surface-to-air missile system, with three more expected to be added this year.

Scholz has long been wary of pressure to supply Western-made vehicles such as the Marder and other heavy tanks, and insists Germany has no intention of making such supplies alone. of countries do not supply anything. But this week, France, the US and Germany all announced plans to send armored vehicles of equal par with tanks.

Germany last year backed a deal in which eastern NATO allies sent familiar Soviet-era equipment to Ukraine, while Germany supplied these countries with more modern Western-made equipment.

Hevestrite said that since mid-December, he has been in discussions with the United States and others about how to support Ukraine going forward. He said the possibility of supplying Soviet-made equipment was “slowly coming to an end”, but on the other hand the situation in Ukraine was changing and a warmer climate could lead to more infrastructure and fighting. There is

Ukraine and many German parliamentarians inside and outside the Scholz government are also calling for Germany to hand over Leopard 2 tanks. Leopard extradition supporters cheered the Marder APC’s move and vowed to continue to make the point.

But Hevestrite said tanks weren’t an issue during Thursday’s phone call between Scholz and Biden. He said that while Germany would adhere to the principle of supporting Ukraine as strongly as possible, it would not go it alone when it comes to arms supply and would ensure that NATO would not become a party to Russia’s war in Ukraine. rice field.

Germany also said on Thursday that it would follow the US in supplying Ukraine with Patriot air defense missile batteries. This was at the request of the United States and is expected in the first quarter as well, Hebestreit said.

This is on top of the Patriot system Germany has sent or will send to Slovakia and Poland.

Lolita C. Bardot, Matthew Lee

Associated Press