NATIONAL NEWS

US announces new $2.1 billion package of military aid to Ukraine

Jun 9, 2023, 8:18 AM

Pentagon spokesman U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder arrives for a media briefing at the Pent...

Pentagon spokesman U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder arrives for a media briefing at the Pentagon, Thursday, June 8, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon announced Friday that it will provide an additional $2.1 billion in long-term weapons aid for Ukraine. The new assistance package will include funding for more Patriot missile battery munitions, Hawk air defense systems and missiles, and small Puma drones that can be launched by hand.

The latest infusion of funding, one of the larger packages the U.S. has provided, comes as there are signs that Ukraine is beginning — or about to begin — the much anticipated counteroffensive to try to take back territory that has been seized by Russia.

Unlike the U.S. equipment, weapons and ammunition that are more frequently sent from Pentagon stocks and delivered quickly to Ukraine, this money would be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and is meant to be spent over the coming months or even years to ensure Ukraine’s future security needs.

In a statement, the Pentagon said the package shows America’s continued commitment “to both Ukraine’s critical near-term capabilities as well as the enduring capacity of Ukraine’s Armed Forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term.”

The aid also will include munitions for laser-guided rockets, an undisclosed amount of artillery rounds, and funding for training and maintenance support.

A number of administration officials have acknowledged that the fighting in Ukraine has intensified in recent days, but much of the focus turned early this week to the collapse of the Kakhovka dam on the Dnieper River. The White House and the Pentagon insisted Thursday they are still working to determine who caused the damage, which set off a scramble to evacuate residents in dozens of flooded areas and get aid to those still there.

Although the U.S. has been willing to provide billions of dollars in military weapons and other aid, the Biden administration has been clear that there will be no U.S. combat forces inside Ukraine. In that vein, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said Thursday the military had no plans to directly provide transportation or other support to the areas damaged by the dam collapse.

The Biden administration has provided more than $37.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.

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US announces new $2.1 billion package of military aid to Ukraine