Ukraine gets more rockets, ammo and other weapons as part of new $320M US aid package
Stars and Stripes April 19, 2023
WASHINGTON — Another round of military weapons and equipment worth more than $300 million will be sent to Ukraine to help the country restock ahead of anticipated Russian assaults in the coming months, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
President Joe Biden’s administration has committed roughly $35 billion in security aid to Ukraine since the Russian war began more than a year ago. The new military aid mainly aims to restock ammunition and missiles for Ukrainian forces.
“This includes … more ammunition for U.S.-provided HIMARS, artillery rounds and anti-armor capabilities essential to strengthening Ukraine’s defenders on the battlefield,” the Pentagon said in a statement announcing the aid, which is worth $325 million.
HIMARS, which stands for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, is a truck-mounted weapon that’s capable of firing different types of missiles at enemy targets. The U.S. and its allies have been helping Ukraine prepare in recent months for possible new Russian offensives now that winter is over, and the weather is warmer.
The announcement came at a time of heightened concern for Ukrainian forces after the leak of what appear to be classified U.S. military documents online in recent weeks. The first materials discovered on social media platforms were photos of documents that revealed information on Ukrainian troop positions and weapons. Some of the documents indicated Ukraine was running low on rockets.
Also included in the military aid announced Wednesday are additional AT-4 anti-armor weapons systems, tube-launched missiles, millions of rounds of ammunition, support vehicles, anti-tank mines and spare parts.
The aid announcement came two days before the next meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a collection of about 54 countries that meet periodically to determine what Ukraine forces need most to fend off Russian forces. New U.S. aid shipments have been typically announced after the group meets.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who was in Sweden on Wednesday, will travel to Germany to attend the contact group meeting Friday.
The new U.S. aid is being given through presidential drawdown authority, which means it will come directly from Pentagon stocks and be sent quickly on an emergency basis. Aid given this way typically reaches Ukraine in a matter of weeks.
Some U.S. aid for Ukraine is also provided through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, a program that procures new weapons and equipment from manufacturers. It takes several months for Ukraine to receive items given through the initiative.
Lt. Gen. Oleksandr Pavliuk, Ukraine’s first deputy minister of defense, said Wednesday that three U.S.-made Patriot air defense systems — one each from the United States, the Netherlands and Germany — have arrived in the country. The U.S. pledged to send a Patriot system in December and a group of Ukrainian troops recently finished training at Fort Sill, Okla., to learn how to use it.
"Such air-defense systems will allow us to protect ourselves from attacks by Russian cruise missiles and [drones]," Pavliuk said in a social media post to Telegram.
Here is a list from the Pentagon of what is included in the aid package:
•Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
•155mm and 105mm artillery rounds.
•Tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided (TOW) missiles.
•AT-4 anti-armor weapon systems.
•Demolition munitions for obstacle clearing.
•Over 9 million rounds of small arms ammunition.
•Four logistics support vehicles.
•Precision aerial munitions.
•Testing and diagnostic equipment to support vehicle maintenance and repair.
•Port and harbor security equipment.
•Spare parts and other field equipment.