UPDATE - US announces additional $400 million in security aid for Ukraine
Package includes air defense munitions, artillery, other ammunition
ADDS STATE DEPARTMENT STATEMENT
By Iclal Turan
WASHINGTON (AA) - The US announced an additional $400 million in military aid to Ukraine on Tuesday, including air defense munitions, artillery and other ammunition, according to the Department of Defense (DoD).
"This authorization is the Biden Administration’s forty-third drawdown of equipment from DoD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021 as the U.S. government has continuously provided Ukraine with the weapons and equipment it needs for the battlefield," it said in a statement.
The package includes additional air defense munitions, artillery and other ammunition, armored vehicles, anti-armor weapons and other equipment to help Ukraine counter Russia’s ongoing war of aggression, according to the statement.
It will also include Hornet drones made by FLIR Systems, which will be sent to Ukraine for the first time.
"The United States will continue to work with its Allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements," said the Pentagon.
The US has provided Ukraine with more than $41 billion in military aid since the start of the Russian war in February 2022.
The package came as Ukraine is continuing a counter offensive against Russia to retake territories.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday said Ukraine has already retaken about 50% of the territory seized by Russia while also maintaining that the Ukraine counteroffensive is still in its relatively early days. Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, asserted that Ukraine's counteroffensive has "failed."
Asked about the counter offensive during a press conference on Tuesday, Deputy Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said she would let Ukrainians "speak to their operations,"
"The Ukrainians have been making slow but steady progress along the East and in the South. But in terms of their operations and where Russians are positioning their forces, I let the Ukrainian speak to how they plan to respond," she said.
Blinken said in a separate statement Tuesday that the package contains “critical military assistance” from Pentagon stocks.
“Russia started this unprovoked war against Ukraine. Following its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Russia continues to attack Ukrainian ports and grain infrastructure - including in Odessa,” he said.
He said Russia could end the war “at any time by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine” and “until it does, the United States and our allies and partners will stand united with Ukraine, for as long as it takes.”
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