Pentagon announces new long-term arms deal for Ukraine worth $1.3 billion
Stars and Stripes July 19, 2023
WASHINGTON — A new long-term U.S. arms purchase for Ukraine is worth $1.3 billion in air defense weapons and other munitions, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.
The military aid is provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and will go toward the purchase of four National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS, Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade drones and various rounds of munitions.
The aid builds on previous efforts to bolster Ukrainian air defenses against the Russian invasion. The funding for this aid is not for immediate battlefield use but to procure weapons and munitions from the defense industry or partner countries for a later date.
Most of the 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.
The newest deal comes less than two weeks after the Pentagon announced another round of military aid to Ukraine worth up to $800 million. For the first time, the package included cluster munitions to aid the Ukrainian counteroffensive against entrenched Russian forces. Cluster munitions are particularly effective against targets such as ground troops, artillery and truck convoys, but they’re banned in more than 100 countries because they have a high “dud rate” and can later be dangerous to civilians.
Ukraine launched its counteroffensive in early June in several key areas under Russian control, such as the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions and Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday that Russian troops are being worn down by the counteroffensive and their morale is low.
“They have suffered a lot of casualties, the Russians,” Milley said. “The Russian situation is not very good.”
Including the latest package, the U.S. has provided more than $42.6 billion to Ukraine since the war began in February 2022.
The list of weapons and items in the new package includes:
• Four National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems and munitions.
• 152mm artillery rounds.
• Mine-clearing equipment.
• Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked, Wire-Guided missiles.
• Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade Unmanned Aerial Systems.
• Precision aerial munitions.
• Counter-UAS and electronic warfare detection equipment.
• 150 fuel trucks.
• 115 tactical vehicles to tow and haul equipment.
• 50 tactical vehicles to recover equipment.
• Port and harbor security equipment.
• Tactical secure communications systems.
• Support for training, maintenance, and sustainment activities.