The Biden administration has announced almost $3 billion in additional aid to Ukraine alongside a shift toward supporting the Ukrainian war against Russia long-term.
The latest announcement came on Wednesday just weeks after the Pentagon sent what was its largest package so far to Ukraine, a $1 billion injection of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, among other things.
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The US and Ukraine have both expressed concerns that Russia will ramp up its attacks on civilian infrastructure and government buildings in the near future. The US Embassy in Kyiv has urged any Americans still in Ukraine to leave immediately.
PBS reports: In a statement, Biden said the aid will allow Ukraine to acquire air defense systems, artillery systems and munitions, drones and other equipment “to ensure it can continue to defend itself over the long term.”
The announcement comes as Ukraine is celebrating its 1991 declaration of independence from the Soviet Union.
“I know this independence day is bittersweet for many Ukrainians as thousands have been killed or wounded, millions have been displaced from their homes, and so many others have fallen victim to Russian atrocities and attacks,” Biden said. “But six months of relentless attacks have only strengthened Ukrainians’ pride in themselves, in their country, and in their thirty-one years of independence.”
The aid package is being provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which funds contracts to purchase weapons and equipment. It includes money for the small, hand-launched Puma drones, equipment for the longer-endurance Scan Eagle surveillance drones, which are launched by catapult, and, for the first time, the Vampire anti-drone system, which can be launched off ships.
In addition there is money for six advanced surface-to-air missile systems, known as NASAMS, munitions for them, 24 counter-artillery radars, precision rocket systems, and more than 300,000 rounds of artillery and mortar ammunition.
As Russia’s war on Ukraine drags on, U.S. security assistance is shifting to a longer-term campaign that also will likely keep more American military troops in Europe into the future, U.S. officials said.
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