US to send Ukraine largest package yet, worth $3.75 billion
By Joe Gould and Sebastian Sprenger
WASHINGTON — The U.S. announced its largest Ukraine aid package yet, worth $3.75 billion, which includes Bradleys and other armored vehicles as well as $907 million in more financing for Ukraine and its neighbors to buy American-made weapons and equipment.
The new U.S. military drawdown — worth about $2.85 billion and featuring 50 M2A2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles armed with anti-tank missiles — is aimed at getting as much to Ukrainian forces as possible during the winter months, before spring sets in and an expected increase in fighting begins.
Pentagon officials say the provision of several hundred armored vehicles, along with plans for U.S. training of Ukrainian troops on combined arms as well as operations and maintenance of the Bradleys, offer Ukraine a chance to retake territory from Russia’s invasion force. The vehicles are expected to help Ukraine’s infantry accompany its fast-moving armored forces.
“These capabilities will complement and work with the expanded U.S.-led training beginning this month that will build Ukraine’s capacity to conduct joint maneuver and combined operations,” Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, told reporters at the Pentagon. “We will ensure Ukraine has both the equipment and the skilled force necessary to sustain its efforts to push back on Russian aggression.”
The new aid, which draws from the Ukraine spending package Congress approved last month, includes $225 million for Ukraine and $682 million for European allies, under the U.S. Foreign Military Financing program, to buy American-made military gear over the long term. Cooper said Ukraine would likely buy air defense weapons, artillery and armored vehicles — its top priorities.
The latest military equipment drawn down from U.S. military stockpiles includes new types of projectiles, such as an undisclosed number of RIM-7 Seasparrow missiles, which Ukraine can integrate into its Soviet-era Buk air defenses, and 4,000 127mm Zuni rockets, which can be mounted on Ukraine’s fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft.