The U.S. will ship Ukraine $3 billion worth of missiles, artillery rounds and drones in the latest U.S. military aid package intended to help Kyiv defend itself following Russia’s full-blown invasion six months ago.
The package includes six more National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) and munitions; up to 245,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition; and up to 65,000 rounds of 120mm mortar ammo, Pentagon officials told reporters on Wednesday.
Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for policy, said the latest Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) program represents a multi-year investment to help Kyiv fend off its larger and better-armed neighbor.
“We will stick with Ukraine over the long haul,” Mr. Kahl said.
The latest plan represents a change in the way the Biden administration has helped supply Ukraine’s forces. In the past, the Pentagon pulled military equipment from its own stock to supply Ukraine with lethal hardware. Under USAI, the government will be able to procure Ukraine’s needs directly from private industry suppliers.
“It is the biggest tranche of security assistance for Ukraine to date,” Air Force Brig Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.
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The U.S. has sent about $13 billion worth of military firepower to Ukraine since the start of the Biden administration. The Pentagon also is prepared to ship up to 24 anti-artillery counter-battery radar systems to Ukraine along with the necessary training to bring the Ukrainian troops up to standard, officials said.
“This level of U.S. security assistance is historically unprecedented,” Mr. Kahl said.
He said the security assistance shipment to Ukraine is relevant if the military campaign against Russia drags on for years.
“If there is a cease-fire or a peace settlement, this package is still relevant,” Mr. Kahl said. Russian President Vladimir Putin “seems to believe that Russia can win in the long run. This USAI package is a tangible demonstration that this is another Russian miscalculation.”