President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022 | Photo: AP
Washington: The United States has announced another military assistance package of over USD 3.75 billion for Ukraine to fight the battle against Russian aggression taking the total US military assistance for Ukraine to an unprecedented USD 24.9 billion.
The latest tranche of assistance will include for the first time 50 M2-A2 Bradley armoured vehicles for the Ukraine military.
These armoured vehicles — enough to outfit a mechanised infantry battalion — will come with 500 tube-launched, optically sighted, wire-guided, or TOW, anti-tank missiles and 250,000 rounds of 25 mm ammunition, the Pentagon said.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a “special military operation” aimed at the “demilitarisation and denazification” of Ukraine.
“In this first week of 2023, the United States continues to stand strongly behind Ukraine and our European allies and partners by announcing more than USD 3.75 billion in new military assistance,” Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced on Friday.
This assistance includes a USD 2.85 billion drawdown from stocks of the Department of Defence to be provided immediately to Ukraine and USD 225 million in Foreign Military Financing to build the long-term capacity and support the modernisation of Ukraine's military.
It also includes USD 682 million in Foreign Military Financing for European partners and allies to help incentivise and backfill donations of military equipment to Ukraine, he said.
“Today, the United States will demonstrate our continued enduring commitment to Ukraine's ability to defend itself with the announcement of over USD 3 billion in new military assistance to Ukraine, including USD 2.8 billion drawdowns for Ukraine, the largest yet,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at her daily news conference.
The latest tranche also includes 100 M-113 armoured personnel carriers and 50 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles.
The US will also provide 138 Humvees, the Pentagon said.
Following the announcement, Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin spoke with Ukrainian Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov to discuss the latest American commitment of more than USD 3 billion in additional security assistance.
The war in Ukraine is at a critical point right now, and we have to do everything we can to help the Ukrainians continue to resist Russian aggression," Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defence for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.
The assistance also includes USD 682 million for regional partners and allies on NATO's eastern flank to incentivise and backfill donations of military equipment.
“As the President said yesterday, the war is at a critical point, and we must do everything that we can to help the Ukrainians resist Russian aggression,” Jean-Pierre said.
According to John Kirby, the National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, the aid being provided to Ukraine from a security perspective is very much in keeping with two things: one, the needs that they have at the moment and our ability to provide those capabilities to them, but also taking a look at what the fight is likely to be going forward.
Blinken said working with Congress, the US plans to provide an additional USD 907 million of Foreign Military Financing under the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022.
Funds will support Ukraine and countries impacted by Russia's war in Ukraine.
USD 225 million for Ukraine will be used to cover wartime requirements of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to provide them with means necessary to defend against Russia's aggression and may also be used to support the sustainment of equipment previously provided to Ukraine under the Department of Defence's Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and under previous drawdowns, he said.
In the longer term, this Foreign Military Financing funding may be used to rebuild Ukraine's capacity to provide for its own defence through the development and modernisation of its armed forces, Blinken said. PTI