New $400M US aid package for Ukraine includes missiles, mortars, Strykers and drones
Stars and Stripes July 25, 2023
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will send Ukraine another aid package worth as much as $400 million, which will include equipment such as missiles, vehicles and surveillance drones, U.S. officials announced Tuesday.
“Today’s commitment in security assistance … includes additional air defense munitions, artillery and other ammunition, armored vehicles, anti-armor weapons and other equipment to help Ukraine counter Russia’s ongoing war of aggression,” the Pentagon said.
Included in the package are more missiles for the Patriot air-defense systems in Ukraine, National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS, and shoulder-launched stinger systems — as well as artillery and mortar rounds, officials said. Also included are almost three dozen Stryker armored personnel carriers, more than 28 million rounds of small arms ammunition and Hornet surveillance drones.
“The United States will continue to work with its allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs,” the Pentagon said.
The military aid announced Tuesday is being provided through presidential drawdown authority, which means the weapons and equipment will come directly from Pentagon shelves and will likely be in Ukraine within days or weeks.
The new round of U.S. aid to Ukraine is the third in less than three weeks. The Pentagon announced a package worth up to $800 million on July 7 and a longer-term tranche of equipment on July 19 worth $1.3 billion. The latter will come through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, meaning it’s being procured at the industry level and will take longer to reach Europe.
“In total, the United States has committed more than $43.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including more than $43 billion since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion on Feb. 24, 2022,” the Pentagon said.
The new aid comes at a time of increased Russian aggression — inside and outside Ukraine.
The Air Force said a Russian fighter jet harassed a U.S. MQ-9 drone over Syria on Sunday by dropping flares that damaged the drone’s propeller. The aircraft was able to make it back to its U.S. base, but the confrontation strongly resembled another incident in March in which a Russian jet clipped a different U.S. drone over the Black Sea and caused it to crash into the water.
“We are seeing an increase in that [type of behavior],” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters Tuesday. “It’s just yet again another blatant disregard of how to operate and flies in the face of operating safely and professionally.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials said Russian forces on Tuesday attempted another drone attack on Kyiv, but failed. Military authorities in the capital city said all the Russian drones were detected and destroyed. They said it was the sixth attempted drone attack on Kyiv this month.
Ukrainian officials also said Russia has launched new airstrikes on port infrastructure in southern Ukraine with exploding drones. The area has been targeted by Russian forces several times in the past week, they said.
Ukraine has also accused Russian forces of attacking grain storage centers Monday in the south Ukrainian port city of Odesa on the Black Sea. Moscow has denied it intentionally targeted grain facilities.