Pentagon reveals contents of new Ukraine weapons package
The latest batch of US military aid to Ukraine consists mainly of artillery ammunition and short-range air defense missiles, the Pentagon revealed on Thursday. Washington says the new weapons will help Kiev counter Russian drone strikes against critical infrastructure.
The Ukrainian military will receive 21,000 155mm artillery rounds, as well as 500 precision-guided Excalibur shells, and 10,000 rounds for heavy 120mm mortars, in addition to an unspecified quantity of ammunition for the US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), the Pentagon said.
The US has also pledged four Avenger air defense vehicles, effectively Humvees equipped with four launchers for Stinger man-portable missiles.
There will also be an undisclosed number of Hawk missiles for 1950s-era field air defense vehicles. Spain delivered four of its spare Hawks last week, and promised two more on Thursday.
Among the equipment listed in the statement are also 100 Humvees, 400 grenade launchers, an unspecified amount of small arms, 20 million rounds of ammunition, “demolition equipment for obstacle clearing” and cold-weather gear.
By the Pentagon’s own admission, this is the 25th “drawdown” from the US military stocks since August 2021 – six months before the Russian operation in Ukraine began in February. Washington says it has committed more than $21.4 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since 2014 – when a US-backed coup in Kiev ousted the elected government and touched off the conflict over Crimea and the Donbass.
Thursday’s drawdown should not be confused with last week’s $400 million announcement under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which mainly covers expenses for refurbishing equipment the US has already designated for Kiev.