US sends Ukraine another $275 million in military aid, including anti-drone systems
Stars and Stripes December 9, 2022
WASHINGTON — The United States on Friday authorized another $275 million in military aid to Ukraine to help it beat back Russian forces in a war that they have been fighting for more than 9 months.
The Defense Department said the new round of aid is being given under presidential drawdown authority, an option that allows the U.S. to send equipment to Ukraine quickly on an emergency basis.
Friday’s allotment is the 27th package of aid for Ukraine in the past 14 months.
Included in the new aid package are more generators to help Ukrainian troops through the winter, more ammunition, Humvees, ambulances, medical and field equipment, and new air defense capabilities. The Pentagon said the new aid will bolster “critical security and defense needs” in Ukraine.
“This security assistance package will provide Ukraine with new capabilities to boost its air defenses in addition to providing critical equipment that Ukraine is using so effectively to defend itself on the battlefield,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
The Pentagon said Ukraine is also getting counter-drone defense systems, which can detect and target unmanned enemy vehicles. Earlier this week, defense officials said they’re testing a new tool that will allow American troops to practice detecting and targeting enemy drones. That software, however, is still in a testing phase.
Iran has supplied Russia with hundreds of its drones and Moscow reportedly wants more, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. Detecting them is an important capability for Ukrainian troops to have, some experts have said.
The aid package is the latest that President Joe Biden’s administration has given Ukraine in the last few months. Most recently, the Pentagon pledged a combined $800 million in new aid and equipment on Nov. 10 and Nov. 23.
Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have repeatedly promised Ukraine support for as long as it takes, and polling shows the majority of Americans still support that stance. However, a recent survey by the think tank Chicago Council on Global Affairs found support for indefinite aid is sliding — and more Americans feel Ukraine should settle for peace as soon as possible.
Since the war began in February, the U.S. has given Ukraine close to $20 billion in assistance, which includes tens of thousands of various defense systems, millions of rounds of ammunition and hundreds of vehicles, helicopters and tanks.
Ukrainian forces have had success in pushing back some Russian troops in recent months since Kyiv mounted a counter-offensive. Russian forces were driven out of the city of Kherson in the southeast and they have been defeated in other key strategic areas such as Kharkiv in the northeast.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday that he is concerned that failure in Ukraine could lead to a fight between Russia and NATO, which includes 30 member countries in North America, Europe and the Middle East. NATO recognizes Ukraine as an aspiring member.
“It is a terrible war in Ukraine,” he said in an interview with Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “It is also a war that can become a full-fledged war that spreads into a major war between NATO and Russia. We are working … every day to avoid that."