US announces new $200M arms package for Ukraine amid grinding counteroffensive

US announces new $200M arms package for Ukraine amid grinding counteroffensive

Latest tranche of military equipment includes Patriot air defense ammo, 12M small arms rounds, Pentagon says

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US administration announced Monday a fresh $200 million security package for Ukraine to bolster Kyiv's ongoing counteroffensive to liberate parts of the country under Russian occupation.

The latest tranche includes additional ammunition for already-supplied Patriot air defense and HIMARS rocket systems, mine clearing equipment, 155 mm and 105 mm artillery rounds, 120 mm tank ammunition, TOW anti-tank missiles, and Javelin and other anti-armor systems and rockets, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Over three dozen tactical vehicles are also being sent to Ukraine to help tow and haul equipment damaged on the battlefield as Ukraine's forces slog through deeply entrenched Russian positions. The Pentagon is also sending demolitions equipment to help clear obstacles erected by Moscow's forces in occupied territories.

Some 12 million small arms rounds are included in the package in addition to grenades.

The arms are being sent to Ukraine under what is known as presidential drawdown authority, which allows US President Joe Biden to transfer existing equipment from US stocks to allies and partners. The package is the 44th Biden has provided from the Pentagon's inventories since August 2021.

The US has provided Ukraine with over $43 billion in security assistance since Russia began the war in February 2022.

"Every day, Russia is killing Ukrainian civilians and destroying civil infrastructure, while also weaponizing hunger and contributing to global food insecurity through its destruction of Ukraine's civilian ports and grain infrastructure," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

"Russia started this war and could end it at any time by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine and stopping its brutal attacks. Until it does, the United States and our allies and partners will stand united with Ukraine, for as long as it takes," he added.

Earlier on Monday, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Kyiv's forces retook control of 3 square kilometers (1.1 square miles) of territory near the city of Bakhmut, one of the key hotspots of the Russia-Ukraine war.

An intense gun battle continues between Russian and Ukrainian forces near Kupiansk, Lyman, and Bakhmut, Maliar said, adding that Russia continues its offensives in the directions of Avdiivka and Marinka.

She said fierce fighting is continuing to take place in southern Ukraine, particularly near the village of Urozhaine.

"There are also certain successes in the southern and southeastern directions around Staromaiorske, Donetsk region, and hot battles are currently ongoing both in the south and in the east of Ukraine," she said.

Russian authorities have not yet commented on the claims, and independent verification is difficult due to the heated fighting.

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