Six months after Russia invaded Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden announced $2.98 billion ($4.33 billion) in new military aid to Ukraine.
- The United States is sending $2.98 billion in new military aid to Ukraine to help defend it against Russian forces.
- U.S. security assistance has shifted to a long-term campaign, likely to keep more U.S. troops in Europe
- Other countries also announced new aid to Ukraine on Wednesday, marking the country’s 31st anniversary of independence.
In a statement, President Biden said the aid would allow Ukraine to acquire air defense systems, artillery systems, ammunition, drones and other equipment that would “allow it to continue defending itself for the long term.” said.
The announcement came as Ukraine celebrated its declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
“I know this Independence Day will be bittersweet for many Ukrainians,” President Biden said. “There are many victims of Russian atrocities and attacks.”
“But six months of relentless attacks have only reinforced Ukrainians’ pride in themselves, their country and their 31 years of independence.”
Aid packages are provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
U.S. officials say funding includes small manually-launched Puma drones, more durable catapult-launched Scan Eagle surveillance drones, and the first ship-launched British Vampire drone system. It says. .
Several officials spoke on condition of anonymity.
Biden turns to long-term strategy
As Russia’s war against Ukraine drags on, U.S. security assistance is shifting to a longer-term campaign that will likely keep more U.S. troops in Europe in the future, U.S. officials say. Stated.
Unlike most previous packages, the new funds are primarily aimed at helping Ukraine secure its medium- to long-term defense posture, according to people familiar with the matter.
Previous shipments, most of them under the president’s lowering authority, have focused on Ukraine’s more pressing arms and ammunition needs, which the Pentagon already has in stock and can ship immediately. goods were included.
In addition to providing long-term assistance that Ukraine can use for potential future defense needs, the new package demonstrates to Ukraine that the United States intends to maintain that assistance regardless of the day-to-day toll of the conflict. It is intended to reassure officials.
“The United States is committed to supporting the people of Ukraine as they continue their fight to defend their sovereignty,” Biden said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday reaffirmed the alliance’s support for the conflict-torn nation, noting the broader focus.
“Winter is coming and it will be difficult. And what we are seeing now is a war of attrition. This is a battle of wills, a battle of logistics”.Ukraine.
“Therefore, we must maintain long-term support for Ukraine so that it can win as a sovereign and independent state.”
Fears of escalating Russian attacks
Six months after the Russian invasion, the war slowed as both sides exchanged combat attacks and small advances in the east and south.
Both sides have seen thousands of troops killed and wounded, just as shelling of Russian cities killed countless innocent civilians.
With a holiday celebrating Ukraine’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and a day marking six months after the invasion, Russia threatens to intensify attacks on civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days.
On Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine and the U.S. State Department issued a new security alert to Ukraine calling on Americans in the country to leave, citing the danger.
“Given Russia’s track record in Ukraine, we are concerned about the continued threat Russian attacks pose to civilians and civilian infrastructure,” he said.
Allies celebrate Independence Day with aid
Other NATO allies also made new aid announcements on Ukraine’s Independence Day.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his country was providing more than €500 million ($720 million) in aid, including a powerful anti-aircraft system.
The support includes rocket launchers, ammunition, anti-drone equipment, 12 armored recovery vehicles and three additional IRIS-T long-range air defense systems, according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
Funding is subject to congressional approval, and some won’t be available until next year.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced an investment of C$3.85 million ($4.3 million) in two projects in Ukraine through the Operations Peace and Stability program.
This includes approximately $2.9 million ($3.24 million) in funding for the continued development of the Ukrainian National Police and other emergency services, and approximately $950,000 to assist in advising the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. ($1.06 million).
To date, the United States has contributed approximately $13.6 billion ($15.17 billion) in military aid to Ukraine since August 2021, including 19 weapons packages acquired directly from Pentagon inventories since the beginning of the Biden administration. provided.
U.S. defense leaders are also eyeing plans to expand the training of Ukrainian forces abroad, as well as to those in eastern and southern Europe most threatened by Russian aggression.