Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The nearly US$3 Billion new military aid for Ukraine announced by Biden

President Joe Biden on Wednesday, 24th August, 2022 announced that he is sending US$2.98 billion in new military aid to Ukraine. The new aid will provide longer-term weapons and training to enable forces on the Ukrainian side fight for years to come.

According to a White House statement, Ukraine will receive “air defense systems, artillery systems and munitions, counter-unmanned aerial systems, and radars to ensure it can continue to defend itself over the long term.”

The aid announcement comes as Ukraine celebrates its 1991 declaration of independence which followed the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

In a statement, the U.S President said that the aid will allow Ukraine to acquire air defense systems, artillery systems and munitions, drones and other equipment “to ensure it can continue to defend itself over the long term.”

The aid package is being provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which funds contracts to purchase weapons and equipment.

The package includes;

  • Money for the small, hand-launched Puma drones,  equipment for the longer-endurance Scan Eagle surveillance drones, which are launched by catapult, and, for the first time, the Vampire anti-drone system, which can be launched off ships;
  • Money for six advanced surface-to-air missile systems, known as NASAMS, munitions for them, 24 counter-artillery radars, precision rocket systems, and more than 300,000 rounds of artillery and mortar ammunition, and;
  • Money for training.

Several US media outlets reported on Tuesday that the contents of Wednesday’s arms package may not reach the battlefield for months or even years.

Six months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the war slowed to a grind, the United States is shifting towards providing longer-term assistance that Ukraine can use for potential future defense needs.

“The United States of America is committed to supporting the people of Ukraine as they continue the fight to defend their sovereignty,” Biden said.

Detailing the package, Colin Kahl, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, said the long-term focus of the contracting — which could be one to three years down the road — is a direct message to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“His theory of victory is that he can wait everybody out. He can wait the Ukrainians out because they will be exhausted and attritted. He can wait us out because we’ll turn our attention elsewhere. He can wait the Europeans out because of high energy prices or whatever,” said Kahl. “So packages like this are extraordinarily important, indirectly challenging Putin’s theory of the case, which is that we’re not in it for the long haul.”

Responding to questions as to why there are no manned aircraft in the long-term package, Kahl said that new fighter jets are not currently a priority. He however stated that the Pentagon is concentrating on improving the capabilities of the Russian-made aircraft Ukraine already uses, such as installing high-speed anti-radiation missiles on them to better target enemy air defense systems. He added that providing fighter aircraft to Ukraine remains “on the table.”

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