U.S. Army Patriot missile system in Croatia in May 2021.

U.S. Army Patriot missile system in Croatia in May 2021. (U.S. Army )

WASHINGTON — A new long-term U.S. arms package for Ukraine to help its forces beat back Russian invaders is worth $2.1 billion and focuses on air defense munitions, the Pentagon announced Friday.

The military aid, provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, will go toward the purchase of Hawk missile launchers and missiles, Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems and additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems.

The announcement comes after reports of Ukraine’s long-anticipated counteroffensive against Russian forces launched this week.

The assistance initiative builds on previous efforts to aid Ukrainian air defenses against the Russian invasion. The funding for this package is not for immediate battlefield use but to procure capabilities from the defense industry or partner countries for a later date.

“The United States will continue to work with its allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

Previous aid for Ukraine has been provided through the presidential drawdown authority, which means it will come directly from Pentagon stocks and sent quickly on an emergency basis. Aid given this way typically means it reaches Ukraine in a matter of weeks.

Including the latest aid package, the U.S. has provided more than $39.7 billion to Ukraine since the war began in February 2022.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will travel to Brussels next week with Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where they will meet with the Ukraine Defense Contact Group on June 15 and the NATO defense ministers on June 16, Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s top spokesperson, told reporters Thursday.

The in-person meeting with the defense contact group, a collection of about 50 nations that convenes regularly to decide what equipment Ukrainian forces need to fend off invading Russian forces, comes after a virtual meeting took place May 25.

At the time, the meeting covered some new issues, including an international agreement to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter jets, including U.S.-made F-16 Fighting Falcons.

“I expect it will be discussed there as well. And so we should have more details in a relatively near future in terms of when, where, how,” Ryder said when asked about an update on F-16 training.

The list of weapons and items in the latest package include:

• Additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems.

• Hawk air defense systems and missiles.

• 105mm and 203mm artillery rounds.

• Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems.

• Laser-guided rocket system munitions.

• Support for training, maintenance, and sustainment activities.

author picture
Matthew Adams covers the Defense Department at the Pentagon. His past reporting experience includes covering politics for The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and The News and Observer. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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