US sends USD 725 million more in military aid to Ukraine

Washington: The Biden administration will send Ukraine a new $725 million package of weapons and other military aid, the White House said, as the US added this week to a string of aid announcements from European allies. Friday’s announcement comes on the heels of meetings at NATO, where defense leaders from Europe and around the world pledged weapons and air defense systems to Ukraine as Russia stepped up its bombardment of Kiev and other regions. Officials said there are no major new weapons in the US package. Instead, US aid is largely focused on replenishing thousands of ammunition for the weapon systems Ukraine has successfully used in its counter-offensive against Russia as the war extends into its eighth month.

The new package includes rounds for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, known as HIMARS, a critical weapon that improves Ukraine’s ability to attack ammunition depots, bridges and other key targets that compromise Russia’s ability to supply troops. The US has already sent 20 HIMARS to Ukraine and has promised to deliver 18 more in the coming years.

The aid announcement concludes a string of pledges from allies this week. One after another in the past two days, countries large and small have made detailed new contributions to Ukraine’s struggle, underscoring the lingering fears among European countries that they could be Moscow’s next target.

Also read: Vladimir Putin calls India, China ‘close allies’ – ‘they always talked about peacefully resolving the conflict in Ukraine’

“Russia’s latest attacks have only increased the resolve of the Ukrainian people and united even more the countries of goodwill from all regions of the earth,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at a meeting of defense leaders this week. “Our determination and determination have only been strengthened.”

A senior defense official told reporters at the Pentagon that Ukraine’s immediate needs still consist of additional air defense. The official said, for example, that Russia fired more than 80 missiles at Ukrainian targets in a recent 24-hour period, and that Ukrainian air defenses were able to intercept about half of them. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the US assessment of the war, said the interceptions are using a lot of ammunition because Ukrainians are likely to have fired more than one shot at each incoming missile.

The British government said last week it would provide missiles for advanced NASAM anti-aircraft systems that the Pentagon plans to send to Ukraine. Britain is also sending hundreds of drones and 18 howitzer guns. Germany has sent the first of four promised IRIS-T air defense systems, France promised more artillery, anti-aircraft systems and missiles, the Netherlands said it would send missiles and Canada plans to send winter gear, drone cameras and satellite communications.

Russia has intensified its attacks by hitting the Kiev region with kamikaze drones and firing missiles elsewhere at civilian targets, including a hospital, a kindergarten and other buildings in the city of Nikopol, across the river from Russia’s border. Occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The strikes have been described as Russian revenge for bombing a strategic bridge connecting Russia with annexed Crimea. Kremlin warhawks have urged Putin to further escalate the bombing campaign to punish Ukraine for Saturday’s truck bombing of the historic Kerch Bridge. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

The wave of Russian attacks also represents an urgent attempt by Moscow to regain a foothold as Ukraine’s fierce counter-offensive has recaptured cities and territories that Russia had conquered in the early days of the war. Since the war started on February 24, the US has pledged more than $17.

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