US announces more military aid for Ukraine
Washington will provide another $200 million worth of military aid to Kiev amid the conflict with Russia, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has announced at a gathering of the so-called Ukraine Defense Contact Group.
“I’m proud that the US will announce its latest security package for Ukraine valued at $200 million,” Austin said during Wednesday's meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels, attended by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
According to the Pentagon chief, the new package will include artillery and rocket ammunition, precision aerial munitions, anti-tank weapons, equipment to tackle drones, and “AIM-9 munitions for the new air defense system that we’ll soon deliver to Ukraine.”
He didn’t explain what air defense system it's going to be. AIM-9 Sidewinder is a short-range air-to-air missile that has existed since the late 1950s.
Austin said that with the new package, the overall military aid provided by Washington to Kiev since the start of conflict with Russia in February 2022 had reached some $43.9 billion.
Longer-term decisions on American assistance for Ukraine are currently on hold as the US House remains without a speaker after the lawmakers voted out Kevin McCarthy, and many Republicans oppose providing further aid to Zelensky’s government.
“I look forward to hearing about the new support packages that many countries here are preparing,” the Pentagon chief added.
On Tuesday, Germany announced the so-called “winter package” of assistance for Kiev, among other things, comprising air defense systems, including the Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks, and protected transport vehicles.
After he arrived at the NATO headquarters, Zelensky said that Ukraine was working hard to prepare to resist Russia during the winter, but “now we need some support from the [NATO] leaders. That’s why I’m here today.”
Russia has repeatedly warned that deliveries of weapons to Ukraine by the US and its allies will only prolong the fighting but won’t prevent Moscow from achieving the goals of its military operation. Russian officials also argue that providing arms, intelligence-sharing, and training Kiev’s troops already means that Western nations have de facto become parties to the conflict.