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8 Sep, 2022 16:33

Pentagon unveils new Ukraine weapons package

Howitzers, Humvees and HIMARS ammunition are among the $675 million worth of aid to Kiev
Pentagon unveils new Ukraine weapons package

Artillery ammunition, armored vehicles, and remote-launched mines make up the bulk of the new package of US military aid to Ukraine, which Washington values at $675 million, according to a list published by the US Department of Defense on Thursday.

This is the 20th “drawdown” of equipment for Ukraine from US military stocks since August 2021 – months before the conflict escalated.

According to the Pentagon, Kiev will receive ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and High-speed Anti-radiation missiles (HARM) – without specifying the quantities of either – as well as 36,000 105mm artillery rounds and four howitzers of the same caliber.

In addition to 100 armored Humvee cars, Ukraine will get 1.5 million bullets, 5,000 anti-tank rockets, 50 armored ambulances, and 1,000 rounds of the 155mm Remote Anti-Armor Mine (RAAM) Systems, as well as some night vision devices, the Pentagon said.

Speaking at the meeting of the “Ukraine Defense Contact Group” in Ramstein, Germany, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin boasted that Kiev has so far received 126 of the M777 howitzers since April, and a total of 26 multiple-launch rocket systems – including the US-made HIMARS – capable of firing long-range missiles. 

Austin claimed the weapons have “demonstrably” helped Ukraine in the conflict, but said it was time for NATO to “sustain Ukraine’s brave defenders for the long haul” by “moving urgently to innovate and to push all of our defense industrial bases” so they could supply Kiev on “the hard road ahead.”

Of other countries that have chipped in, Austin singled out the UK for sending 2.3 billion pounds in military aid, and Poland for “serving as the linchpin of our efforts to support the Ukrainians,” including “generous donations” of tanks and artillery.

By the Pentagon’s own admission, the US has committed “more than $17.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine” since 2014, and another $14.5 billion since February. Just this week, the US State Department pledged another $2 billion for long-term investments in military industry, half to Ukraine and half to 18 of its neighbors. 

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.