Ukraine reveals new weapons wish list – Reuters
Ukraine’s military has circulated a list of arms it hopes to receive from Washington over the coming months, including several new weapons not featured in past US aid packages, according to Reuters.
Ukrainian Defense Ministry staffers handed out a “list of armaments to meet the needs of defense forces of Ukraine” during a closed-door meeting among officials and weapons industry executives in Washington, DC on Wednesday, a copy of which was later obtained by Reuters.
The “comprehensive” list features a number of weapons Kiev has sought previously – including 155-millimeter artillery shells, F-16s and long-range ATACMS missiles – but also includes several major systems that have not appeared in past requests. Among the new items are the F-18 Hornet fighter jet, the C-130J Super Hercules transport plane, two different helicopter gunships, and even the pricey Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) air defense system.
In US service since 2008, the THAAD surface-to-air missile system is designed to shoot down short, medium and intermediate-range projectiles, and has been deployed to the territory of several US partners, including Israel, South Korea and Romania. While the weapon has seen little real-life use on the battlefield since it was developed, it is thought to have an operational range of up to 200 kilometers (124 miles).
Though Kiev’s latest request made no mention of cost, together the weapons would carry a multi-billion-dollar price tag for US taxpayers.
Legislation that would devote additional military aid to Ukraine is currently moving through the US Congress, but has faced stiff Republican opposition as some lawmakers grow skeptical of the American largesse. On Wednesday, Senate Republicans blocked the security package from advancing, urging opponents across the aisle to approve stricter immigration controls at the US-Mexico border.
President Joe Biden has said he is ready to make “significant compromises” on border policy if it meant passing the spending package, but chastised GOP members who he said were “willing to literally kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield and damage our national security.”
Biden’s top budget official, Shalanda Young, warned that Washington was “out of money” for Kiev earlier this week, telling reporters that “without congressional action, by the end of the year, we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from US military stocks.”
She went on to note that, as of mid-November, the Pentagon had spent 97% of the $62.3 billion it received for Ukraine this year, while the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID) had used up 100% of the funds allocated.