U.S. to send Ukraine additional $270 million in military aid
The U.S. will send Ukraine an additional $270 million in military assistance to help the country thwart Russia's illegal and unprovoked invasion, John Kirby, the White House National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, announced Friday.
Why it matters: The new aid package, which brings the U.S. total security assistance to Ukraine to $8.2 billion since the start of the Biden administration, will include four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 36,000 ammunition rounds for howitzer artillery pieces and 580 additional loitering munition drones.
- It's the U.S.'s 16th drawdown military aid package to Ukraine since the start of Russia's invasion and comes as Moscow's offensive in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine has recently slowed after making costly gains over the past several months.
- The aid also comes after the White House warned — and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov implied — that Moscow's territorial ambitions extend beyond the Donbas and that it may seek to illegally annex parts of southern Ukraine as well.
What they're saying: "The president has been clear that we’re going to continue to support the government of Ukraine and its people for as long as it takes," Kirby told reporters during a conference call on Friday.
- A senior defense official denied claims from Russia's defense ministry that its forces destroyed four HIMARS in Ukraine earlier this month on a conference call with reporters Friday.
The big picture: Previous HIMARS given to Ukraine have allowed the country to strike Russian positions, including multiple ammunition depots, from far behind the frontlines.
- Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov recently told the Atlantic Council that the country will need “at least 100” more HIMARS and other multiple-launch rocket system to fully reclaim its territory recently occupied by Russia.
- Reznikov said, at minimum, it would need 50 more HIMARS to stop additional Russian territorial gains.
- The 500 additional "Ghost Phoenix" tactical drones recently developed by the Air Force and manufactured by AEVEX Aerospace will add to Ukraine's stockpile of "kamikaze drones," or single-use, remote-controlled bombs.
- The Biden administration sent Kyiv at least 100 Switchblade loitering drones and at least 120 Ghost Phoenix drones in previous aid packages.