Ammo, demolition equipment included in new $600M Pentagon aid package for Ukraine
Stars and Stripes September 7, 2023
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Thursday announced a new security aid package for Ukraine worth $600 million that includes more hardware to improve the country’s air defenses and electronic warfare capabilities.
The Defense Department said the new package is intended to “support Ukraine's battlefield needs” and “demonstrate unwavering U.S. support” for Kyiv in the war against Russia, now in its 19th month.
“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.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the United States has committed almost $44 billion worth of aid, which has included weapons, ammunition, artillery and various vehicles. The new aid package is being given through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which procures the equipment at the industry level rather than pulling them from Pentagon shelves.
Included in the latest package is new mine-clearing equipment, electronic warfare and counter-electronic warfare equipment and hardware to “sustain and integrate” Ukraine's air defense systems, the Pentagon said.
Also included in the new package is more ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 105mm artillery rounds, demolition munitions for clearing obstacles and equipment for training, maintenance and sustainment activities.
Most of the U.S. aid to Ukraine so far has been given through presidential drawdown authority, which takes the equipment from Pentagon stocks and is delivered more quickly to Eastern Europe on an emergency basis. When going through USAI, the aid takes longer to deliver because it’s produced by partners at the industry level.
The M1 Abrams tanks the U.S. pledged to Ukraine in January, for example, went through USAI and aren’t expected to be delivered to Ukraine until sometime this fall.
The new aid came one day after the Pentagon pledged a different package worth up to $175 million. That aid consisted of ammunition, including depleted uranium tank ammunition for the Abrams tanks once they arrive, and was given through presidential drawdown authority.
Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, the United States has contributed a total of $44.4 billion in aid to Ukraine, the Pentagon said.
Ukrainian forces are also expected to receive U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets at some point in the near future. Kyiv has been asking for the jets for months to better fight modern Russian fighters, and the Defense Department said last month Ukrainian pilots will soon begin training to fly the planes at Morris Air National Guard Base in Arizona. Denmark and the Netherlands have pledged to supply Ukraine with some of their F-16s.