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28 Dec, 2023 00:32

US unveils year’s final Ukraine aid package

The White House has released the final tranche of authorized military assistance for Kiev
US unveils year’s final Ukraine aid package

The US will provide Ukraine with an additional $250 million in military aid, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Wednesday.

The aid is part of “previously directed drawdowns for Ukraine,” Blinken said, adding that the package includes air defense munitions, rockets, 155mm and 105mm artillery shells, and “over 15 million rounds” of small-arms ammunition.

Earlier this month, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned that the US “will have no more replenishment authority available” unless Congress authorizes new Ukraine aid without delay.

“It is imperative that Congress act swiftly, as soon as possible, to advance our national security interests by helping Ukraine defend itself and secure its future,” Blinken said on Wednesday. A similar statement came from the Pentagon, urging Congress to take action “as soon as possible... to ensure that our support for Ukraine can continue.”

Lawmakers have already left Washington for the Christmas holidays, after having failed to approve $60 billion in Ukraine aid requested by President Joe Biden in October. Republicans in the House of Representatives blocked the omnibus bill, demanding tougher immigration control at the US-Mexico border.

The Ukrainian military is bracing for 2024 as its much-anticipated summer counteroffensive failed to win any significant ground this year. Kiev’s forces took heavy casualties and lost much of their valuable Western-supplied tanks and other equipment while trying to break through thick Russian minefields and fortified positions.

Meanwhile, the Russian forces appear to have gone on the offensive, most recently ejecting Ukrainian troops from Maryinka, a key stronghold to the west of Donetsk.