White House announces new $270m military package for Ukraine

The latest tranche comes atop about $8bn in security assistance provided since the war began in late February.

The deliveries of Western arms have been crucial for Ukraine’s efforts to fend off Russian attacks in the nearly 5-month-old war [File: Vadim Ghirda/AP]
The White House has announced that the United States will send an additional $270m in security assistance to Ukraine, a package that will include more medium-range rocket systems and tactical drones.

The announcement on Friday brings the total US security assistance committed to Ukraine by the administration of US President Joe Biden to $8.2bn, and is being paid for through $40bn in economic and security aid for Ukraine approved by Congress in May.

The new package includes four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS and will allow Kyiv to acquire up to 580 Phoenix Ghost drones, both crucial weapon systems that have allowed the Ukrainians to stay in the fight despite Russian artillery supremacy, according to John Kirby, the White House National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications. The latest assistance also includes some 36,000 rounds of artillery ammunition and additional ammunition for the HIMARS.

“The president has been clear that we’re going to continue to support the government of Ukraine and its people for as long as it takes,” Kirby said.

The development came as Ukrainian forces have used US-made rocket launchers and tactical drones to destroy dozens of Russian targets and hold at bay Russia’s larger and more heavily equipped forces.

Russia can fire far more ammunition but has sustained huge losses of troops and equipment as Ukrainian forces have been equipped with precision weaponry from the US and other Western allies. CIA Director William Burns on Wednesday said the US estimates roughly 15,000 Russian forces have been killed. That death toll would be equivalent to the Soviet Union’s military losses in its 1980s war in Afghanistan, which lasted nearly a decade.

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