WASHINGTON – The Biden administration approved $400,000 in additional military help for Ukraine Tuesday, marking the 43rd time the US has sent weapons from its own stocks to the war-torn country.
The latest package will include more air defense munitions, artillery, Javelins and other anti-armor weapons, 32 Stryker armored vehicles “and other equipment to help Ukraine counter Russia’s ongoing war of aggression,” the White House said in a statement.
The munitions will be used in Patriot air defense and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, known as NASAMS.
The package will also include Hornet drones, Hydra-70 aircraft rockets, tactical air navigation systems and night vision and thermal imagery systems.
The ammo includes an undisclosed number of 155mm and 105mm artillery shells for howitzers, which would fill a need Pentagon leaders say Ukraine has for the success of its ongoing counter-offensive aimed at taking back Russian-occupied land.
“Our focus is again on providing Ukraine with the security assistance that they continue to meet in their counter offensive and also in the long term,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters on Tuesday. “They’re receiving more artillery, more air defense, and that’s what we’re really focused on.”
When asked whether the US plans to send Kyiv new equipment, such as longer-range missile systems known as ATACMS — which are in limited supply — or American F-16 fighter jets, military officials from Defense Secretary Lloyd on down have said the US is focused on filling gaps in the supply of artillery, since shells are what has made the biggest difference in the war since its early months.
President Biden, 80, acknowledged earlier this month that he was open to sending Ukraine ATACMS — pronounced “attack-ems” — but again noted that artillery was the main focus of the US’ efforts.
“They already have the equivalent of ATACMS now,” Biden said following this month’s NATO summit in Lithuania. “What we need most of all is artillery shells, and they’re in short supply. We’re working on that.”
Ukraine will also get 105 mm and 60mm mortar rounds, as well as more than 28 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades for shorter-range fighting.
The US has now sent Ukraine roughly $43.7 billion since President Biden took office in January 2021 — with all but about $700 million sent since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, 2022.
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