US announces new $1.3B security package for Ukraine

US announces new $1.3B security package for Ukraine

Package includes air defense weapons, mine clearing equipment, artillery ammo, counter-drone equipment and suicide drones

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The Pentagon announced Wednesday a new $1.3 billion military aid package to aid Kyiv's forces in their ongoing effort to oust Russia from occupied territories.

The latest tranche of military hardware includes air defense weapons, mine-clearing equipment, artillery ammunition, counter-drone equipment and suicide drones.

In all, four more National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) are being sent to Ukraine along with Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles, Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade drones, 150 fuel trucks, 115 tactical vehicles and 50 tactical vehicles.

The hardware is being supplied under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which authorizes the Biden administration to purchase weapons from defense contractors and send them to Ukraine.

"This announcement represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional priority capabilities to Ukraine," the Pentagon said in a statement.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley convened Tuesday a 40-member "contact group" of nations supporting Ukraine's defense against Russia's war through military, economic and diplomatic aid.

Addressing reporters after the virtual summit convened, Milley maintained Kyiv's forces remain in possession of a "significant amount of combat power not yet committed" as they pursue the arduous and time-consuming task of clearing sprawling minefields left behind by Russia.

"Right now, they are preserving their combat power, and they are slowly and deliberately and steadily working their way through all these minefields, and it's a tough fight. It's a very difficult fight," he said.

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