US announces $ 820M in Ukraine aid, including missile systems

WASHINGTON – The US announced on Friday that it will provide Ukraine with $ 820 million in new military aid, including new surface-to-air missile systems and counter-artillery radars to respond to Russia’s heavy reliance on long-range strikes in the war.

Russia in recent days has launched dozens of missiles across Ukraine and pinned down Ukrainian forces with continuous fire for sometimes hours at a time. Ukraine’s leaders have publicly called on Western allies to quickly send more ammunition and advanced systems that will help them narrow the gap in equipment and manpower.

All told, the US has committed more than $ 8.8 billion in weapons and military training to Ukraine, whose leaders have sought more help from Western allies to repel larger and heavily equipped Russian forces. About $ 7 billion of that aid has been announced since Russia’s February invasion.

“We are going to support Ukraine as long as it takes,” President Joe Biden said this week at a press conference during the NATO summit in Madrid. He argued that Russia had already suffered a blow to its international standing and major damage to its economy from Western sanctions imposed over the invasion.

(From C, clockwise) Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz, US President Joe Biden, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and France's President Emmanuel Macron have taken seat at a round table as Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses G7 leaders via video link during their working session on June 27, 2022 at Elmau Castle, southern Germany, where the German Chancellor hosts a summit of the Group of Seven rich nations (G7).  - G7 leaders are under pressure to hold fast to climate pledges when they meet in Bavaria from June 26 to 28, as Russia's energy cuts trigger a dash back to planet-heating fossil fuels.  (Photo by BENOIT TESSIER / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BENOIT TESSIER / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)
G7 leaders seat at a round table as Ukraine’s President Zelensky addresses them via video link during their working session on June 27, 2022 at Elmau Castle in Germany.
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The US is giving Ukrainians “the capacity” so that “they can continue to resist the Russian aggression,” Biden said. “And so I do not know how it’s going to end, but it will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine.”

Much of the aid formally announced Friday will take weeks or months to reach Ukraine.

As part of the new package, the US will purchase two systems known as NASAMS, a Norwegian-developed anti-aircraft system that is used to protect the airspace around the White House and Capitol in Washington. A senior defense official told reporters the NASAMS are intended to help Ukraine transition away from using Soviet-era air defense systems that besides being well known to the Russians have to be repaired with spare parts that are hard to procure. The official briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss military assessments.

A local resident walks past an apartment building heavily damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the city of Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine on July 1, 2022.
A local resident walks past an apartment building heavily damaged in the city of Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine on July 1, 2022.
REUTERS
A destroyed tank is seen during the Ukraine-Russia conflict Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine on July 1, 2022.
A destroyed tank is seen during the Ukraine-Russia conflict Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine on July 1, 2022.
REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his gratitude.

“I am especially grateful today to the United States and to Biden personally for the package of support for Ukraine announced today, which includes very powerful NASAMS – an anti-aircraft missile system that will significantly strengthen our air defense. We have worked hard for these supplies, ”Zelensky said late Friday in his nightly video address.

TOPSHOT - Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky appears on a giant screen as he delivers a statement at the start of the first plenary session of the NATO summit at the Ifema congress center in Madrid, on June 29, 2022. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP) (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP via Getty Images)
The US answered Zelensky’s prayers this week with a commitment to send millions to Ukraine in military aid.
GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP via Getty Images)

The Pentagon will also provide the Ukrainians with up to 150,000 rounds of 155-millimeter artillery ammunition. Given the high usage of artillery on both sides, it’s unclear how long those new rounds would last. The official declined to say how many estimated rounds Ukraine and Russia are firing daily.

And the Pentagon will also buy four counter-artillery radars for Ukraine. Those new purchases, funded by the Pentagon’s Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, require weeks at a minimum for defense companies to build. Ukrainians are also being trained to use the newly provided systems.

A woman reacts in front of her destroyed apartment building during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the city of Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine June 30, 2022. REUTERS / Alexander Ermochenko
A woman breaks down in front of her destroyed apartment building in the city of Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine on June 30, 2022.
REUTERS / Alexander Ermochenko

The Pentagon will also provide additional ammunition for medium-range rocket systems it provided Ukraine in June, known as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS. The ammunition will come from the Defense Department’s own inventory under what’s known as drawdown authority and will be made available to Ukraine more quickly.

This is the 14th package of military weapons and equipment transferred to Ukraine from Defense Department stocks since August 2021.

A general view of a residential building damaged by a Russian missile strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in the village of Serhiivka, Odesa region, Ukraine July 1, 2022. REUTERS / Iryna Nazarchuk
Residential buildings crumble as a result of a Russian missile strike in the village of Serhiivka, Odesa region, in Ukraine on July 1, 2022.
REUTERS

The war has evolved into a grinding stalemate in which both sides are heavily reliant on artillery, according to Western officials and analysts. While Russia has not achieved its initial goals of toppling Ukraine’s government, it is believed to be making slow progress in consolidating control over the eastern Ukrainian region known as the Donbas.

A local resident rides a bicycle past an apartment building severely damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the city of Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine June 30, 2022. REUTERS / Alexander Ermochenko
A local resident rides bikes past a wrecked apartment building in the city of Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine on June 30, 2022.
REUTERS / Alexander Ermochenko

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